Sidewalks still snow covered days after storm hits

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COLUMBIA - Winter weather causes many problems, and people get antsy when driving and walking conditions become dangerous.

Many took to Facebook to share their concerns. One comment included "If the city just waits for the sun to melt snow on residential streets, well, why shouldn't I do the same with sidewalks?"

Another comment said "When the city  decides to finally clean my subdivision streets I will then worry about the side walks."

But homeowners could be facing up to a $500 fine if they do not clear the side walk in front of their home.

Leigh Kottwitz, Neighborhood Services Manager for Columbia, says the city saw several uncleared sidewalks in residential areas in 2019. In years past, Kottwitz said they haven't fined homeowners who did not comply with the city ordinance. This year, they're taking new steps to make sure all of Columbia stays clear.

"This is one of those issues where there are just a lot of folks who are not clearing their sidewalks" Kottwitz said.

The city put door hangers in some residential areas across the city. The hangers serve as a reminder for residents to remove snow from their sidewalks. It also includes the city ordinance regarding clean sidewalks.

The ordinance states "all persons are hereby required to keep the sidewalks in front of, or adjacent to, the property or premises owned or occupied by them or under their control, within the city, clear from rubbish, filth, refuse dirt snow..."

If city finds residents do not comply with the ordinance, the Office of Neighborhood Services will post a notice saying the resident violated sidewalk maintenance. The resident is not fined upon receiving the initial notice. ONS's goal for the 2020 winter season is to raise awareness.

"We want people to be thoughtful of those who use the sidewalk," Kottwitz said. "The reason for the outreach and notices about clearing sidewalks is not meant to be punitive, it's to help the people in our community that rely on our sidewalks to get from place to place."