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Superior panel recommends reducing time to shovel sidewalks

The city's Public Works Committee approved a proposal that would require people to clear sidewalks 24 hours after a snowfall ends. The current ordinance allows 48 hours for snow removal.

A man blows snow near East 5th Street in Superior
A man blows snow near East 5th Street in Superior on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.
Jed Carlson / 2022 File / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — Snow was still on the ground when the city's Public Works Committee started discussion about ongoing efforts to clear sidewalks following a snowfall.

Councilor Ruth Ludwig, a frequent pedestrian in the city, shared concerns about snow-covered sidewalks and climbing banks to cross the street at a corner despite the threat of fines in addition to abatement work.

One of the challenges for officials is the city provides residents up to 48 hours after a snowfall ends to clear public sidewalks adjacent to their homes, said Lee Sandok-Baker, the city’s code compliance officer. When a snowfall ends on a late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, that delays enforcement to the following week. She said by then, it could push it out even further if snow begins to fall again by the following Monday.

The committee approved a change in the ordinance Thursday, May 4 that will cut the amount of time people have to clear sidewalks in half. The committee recommends the City Council amend the ordinance to require residents to clear sidewalks adjacent to their home within 24 hours of a snowfall ending.

In April, the committee approved the concept of reducing the amount of time people have to clear their sidewalks. The actual ordinance change was presented to the committee Thursday.

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“It would help because we wouldn’t run into the weekends, repeat snowstorms,” Sandok-Baker said in April. “It would give us more time to get out there and abate.”

“I really appreciate the thorough discussion of this,” Ludwig said before making a motion to approve the revised ordinance.

The council will consider the ordinance change when it meets Tuesday, May 16.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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