Special to The Gardner News
Nary a snowflake in sight, but shoveling snow was the topic of discussion at the Edgerton City Council work session immediately following the Sept. 25 council meeting.
Last March, the city council alerted residents of its intent to proactively enforce the current Edgerton City Code which requires property owners to remove snow and ice on their sidewalks within 12 hours from the time the snow or ice storms ends. The code also states snow accumulation overnight should be removed within 12 hours after sunrise of the following day.
Although no tickets were ever issued, city hall did begin notifying residents of non-compliance via a door hanger instructing them to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours. As expected, the door hangers were not well received by residents, who felt they were doing their best to keep their sidewalks free and clear of winter hazards.
The debate over this city code, which began last March, was never fully settled and thus the sidewalk saga continues to be up for discussion. In anticipation of the approaching winter season, Mayor Don Roberts said he would like to “clear up this code.”
Edgerton residents in attendance were given the opportunity to raise questions, make comments and express their opinions during this city council work session. The conversation between council members and those in attendance was at all times orderly and allowed for a positive exchange of information. Residents told the council that the 12-hour time limit was not long enough, that city trucks cleaning the streets frequently deposit snow on cleared sidewalks and that the use of only sand or ash, as allowed by the city, does not provide good ice control.
The initial poll of council members for their thoughts on how the code should read was filled with periods of long silence, head shaking and looks of concern.
Frances Cross, council member, indicated she was for removing the hour limit, no penalty and “not enforcing.”
“Forcing people, elderly or those unable to do it is pushing the issue too far,” she said.
Clay Longanecker, council member, agreed. Charlie Troutner, council member, felt that if a time limit was set it should be 48 hours. Troutner said it needed to be enforced.
“Get it off the books if it is not enforced,” he said.
Although Roberts did not offer his opinion or make specific recommendations regarding the code, he did tell the council he believed the time limits for snow removal should be the same for citizens as the city. He explained that ticketing does not necessarily get you compliance and abatement came with a risk and cost to the city.
After further discussion, Roberts again asked for council input. Cross indicated that if it was going to be enforced, the time limit should be 48 hours. Longanecker wanted seven days. Troutner’s response was unclear as he withdrew his previous statement of a 48-hour time limit saying the city should decide to enforce the current code or not, then went on to say 48 hours and leave the rest the same. There was some discussion in adding language that would include both an hour time limit and the phrase “reasonable amount of time.”
Gaining consensus from the three council members present was not an easy task. The Gardner News is not exactly sure what will be presented at a future council meeting, as nothing was clearly stated in the form of direction to city staff. The next regular scheduled Edgerton City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 at Edgerton City Hall.
City officials debate snow removal guidelines