Monday, January 9, 2017

Should the sidewalk snow removal bylaw be rewritten or removed?

Town Council is considering disabling the bylaw on sidewalk snow removal for retail areas. Given that as currently written it is reported to be unenforceable; should it be (1) rewritten or (2) removed?

There is a poll widget on the Franklin Matters page in the top right corner. Please record your answer there and feel free to elaborate in the comments here.


From the Town Code

§ 147-1Time limit for removal.

Owners of premises in which business may be conducted and which premises abut a public way shall, within 12 hours after a snowstorm, remove all accumulations of snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of said premises.

§ 147-2Violations and penalties.

[Added 12-9-1987 by Bylaw Amendment 87-114]
Whoever violates the provision of § 147-1 above shall forfeit and pay for each violation a fine not exceeding $25.

taken on a walk Sunday morning, approx 12 hours after the storm ended


  1. Businesses should certainly remove snow from sidewalks on a timely basis, but it's not always easy for homeowners to do the same, especially where the sidewalks are right at the edge of the street. In those cases, the plows clearing the roads push the snow onto the sidewalk, making it virtually impossible for a homeowner to clear, even with a snowblower (and it's far worse on corners). It's easier when there's a grass "barrier" between the road and the sidewalk (curious - who actually "owns" the sidewalk - the town or the adjacent property owner?).

    And then there's the question of who deals with it when there's melting and refreezing, and the sidewalk gets icy.

    1. For residential, it varies but usually it is the property owner with an easement for the town or public access.

      When changing temp the challenges do rise

  2. The section... 147-1 (and -2) pertain to a business only. Is that the only section in question? The terms "remove all" and "in front of" need work!

    1. per the item on the Town Council agenda for last week, yes. This is the section referenced.

    2. if this were to remain, it would require some refinements.