Residents, businesses must clear snow properly
Snow is no fun to clean up. Trust me, I get it. I always hated shoveling or clearing off the cars as a kid. And I still do.
It is something we need to do not only to keep our walkways, roadways and sidewalks safe for ourselves but for others too.
Last week after the snow storm of January 28 and 29, I received numerous calls from people complaining about sidewalks not cleared about town.
People were worried about slipping and falling while walking downtown. Another caller or two mentioned sidewalks near the schools not being cleared and them being a danger for kids heading to and from the buildings.
It’s a pain to move the big heavy white stuff. And it can be expensive to call and have a company remove it.
I have to say that after more than 20 winters in Hammonton, this storm brought the most phone calls about snow-covered sidewalks in years, if not ever.
The town even has rules on snow removal. This is what I learned from codelibrary.amlegal.com:
“Snow and Ice Removal
“[Adopted 9-13-1971 by Ord. No. 10-1971 as Ch. 137 of the 1971 Code; amended in its entirety 5-18-2015 by Ord. No. 008-2015]
“§ 247-5. Responsibility; time limit.
“The owner or owners, tenant or tenants on lands abutting or bordering upon the paved sidewalks of the public streets, avenues and highways in the Town of Hammonton shall remove or cause to be removed from the paved sidewalks in front of or bordering on their said lands all snow and ice within 12 hours of daylight after the same shall be formed or fall thereon.
“§ 247-6. Noncompliance.
“In case such owner or owners, tenant or tenants of any land abutting or bordering upon any public street, avenue or highway in said town shall neglect or refuse to remove such snow or ice within 12 hours of daylight after the same shall have fallen or formed, it shall be the duty of the officer having charge of the streets and highways of said town to remove or cause to be removed such snow and ice from the paved sidewalks in front of or bordering on such land.
“§ 247-7. Costs.
“The cost paid and incurred by such officer for removing such snow and ice from any paved sidewalk shall be by him/her certified to the Common Council, which shall examine such certificate, and if found to be correct, shall cause the cost as shown thereon to be charged against the lands abutting or bordering such paved sidewalk; and the amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon such lands and shall be added to and become and form part of the taxes then next to be assessed and levied upon such lands, and shall be collected and enforced according to law.
“§ 247-8. Violations and penalties.
“Such owner or owners, tenant or tenants, for every neglect or refusal to comply with the provisions of this article, shall also subject to one or more of the following: a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for a period not to exceed 90 days or a period of community service not to exceed 90 days.”
There was even a court case about snow and the town.
From law.justia.com: “The Appellate Division affirmed a judgment against the city of Hammonton for injuries sustained in an accident allegedly caused by the presence of a pile of snow created in connection with snow removal by said city. 99 N.J. Super. 1 (1968). This Court granted defendant’s petition for certification. 51 N.J. 397 (1968).
“The facts developed at the trial are as follows: On or about January 13, 1964, there had been a heavy snowfall in the city of Hammonton. The snow on Bellevue Avenue, a state highway, was plowed to the curb by the State Highway Department while that on Second Street was similarly plowed by a contractor of the city. The snow thus pushed to the side of both streets was removed by the city by depositing it in trucks with a front-end loader. On the day in question, there remained a pile of snow two to three feet in height at the apex, located partially on the sidewalk and partially in the street at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Second Street. This condition allegedly resulted from the plowing activity of the city. Plaintiff, a mailman, was *51 walking to work when he was injured on or about 7 a.m. on January 23, 1964, at that intersection. The accident from which the injuries arose, occurred when plaintiff attempted to cross Bellevue Avenue at Second Street. He testified that in order to cross he had to pass through a narrow passage in this snow pile, evidently created by the passage of earlier pedestrians. After having traversed this path, he took several steps to his left and stopped, waiting for a lull in the traffic. While standing in the street, preparatory to crossing Bellevue Avenue, he saw a car on his right, making a left turn, veer toward him. He attempted to avoid the oncoming vehicle but could not step back through or find an opening in the pile of snow. He stated that:
“I was trapped because of the fact that I couldn’t climb the snow and the treacherous condition of this ice which had melted and accumulated during the night, the accident was over. Evidently, it had interfered with my getting away from the front of this car; and if it wasn’t for the hazardous condition there at that intersection, I would have made it.”
“The car struck and injured him. Plaintiff settled with defendant, Jerry Darpino, who was thereupon dismissed from the suit. The action proceeded to trial against the City of Hammonton. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $35,000 against which an appropriate credit was given for the settlement by the joint tortfeasor, Jerry Darpino.”
What’s the point of all this information? Please remove snow from your sidewalks, driveways, etc. so people can move about safely. That goes for the state, county, town, big businesses, small businesses and individuals. If you need help, ask your neighbor. We have a very generous and giving community.
Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette.