City Cracks Down on Property Oweners for Snow Removal

Somerville, Mass. hands out "Scarlet Letters" so neighbors know who's held accountable for not shoveling snow

As in many communities, residents of Somerville, Massachusetts, are navigating swaths of sidewalks still partly covered in snow and slush. This season, the city though is cracking down on homeowners and businesses that don’t shovel promptly.

Alderman Jack Connolly says inspectors are handing out brightly-colored citations he likes to call "Scarlet Letters" so neighbors know who’s being held accountable.

The regulations were beefed up for this winter, and with all the recent snow, the new rules are being tested.

If it stops snowing before sunrise, property owners must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks abutting their property before 10 am.
If it stops snowing before sunset, the deadline is 10 p.m.

"I can understand there's maybe a need for a fine," said Somerville resident Nike Gregory. "But I think before it gets to that point it would be nice if people could just make 15 minutes to go out there and shovel."

Christopher Pitzi says fines are a good idea.

"A lot of landlords around here aren't present," said Pitzi.

Homeowners are being fined $50 a day for a first offense, $100 for a second. And $200 for a third.

Businesses will pay more.

City inspectors went out with citations today following the most recent snowstorm.

After the blizzard, they handed out 10.

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