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Fri., Oct. 9
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena Mayor urges residents to shovel sidewalks


MASSENA - Massena Mayor James F. Hidy is urging Massena residents and business owners to obey a local ordinance requiring requiring all residents to remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their home and/or business.

Mr. Hidy said a lack of snow removal on sidewalks has been a particular problem this year, due to the recent snowstorms that have left more than two feet of snow across the region.

“We got snowed on very heavily and we want people to help their neighbors out,” Mr. Hidy said.

He acknowledged the village possesses two sidewalk plows, but said they are limited in how much snow they can clear.

According to the village code, steps, walks, driveways, parking spaces and similar paved areas “shall be maintained so as to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions.”

It notes that all snow, ice “and other obstruction upon any public sidewalk shall be removed for the length of the property frontage by the owner or occupant of the adjoining land as soon as possible following the cessation of snowfall or frozen precipitation.”

If a public sidewalk is coated with ice that can’t be removed, “the owner and occupant of the premise abutting thereon shall as an alternative to said removal of the ice, cause such public sidewalks to be made safe and convenient for pedestrians by covering the ice with sand or other substance,” he code says.

The ordinance also requires citizens to dig out the snow around any fire hydrants on their property. It notes that all snow and ice accumulation “higher than a point four inches below the bottom of the lowest outlet on any fire hydrant and within a radius of three feet from the center of such hydrant shall be removed by the owner and occupant of the premises adjoining the hydrant.”

Massena Fire Chief Thomas C. Miller said residents digging out fire hydrants on their property could significantly reduce his department’s response times to fires. When a hydrant is buried, first responders have to dig through snow banks in order to locate it, which could take a lot of time, he said.

“It would be very beneficial for people in the neighborhood to remove the snow around the fire hydrants,” Mr. Miller said.

Violating the ordinance could result in fines between $25 and $100, depending on whether the person has been cited for violating the ordinance in the past.

Mr. Hidy believes fines shouldn’t be necessary in order to prompt residents to remove snow from the sidewalks and fire hydrants on their property.

“People my age and older remember the days when there were no sidewalk plows, and people took care of snow removal themselves,” he said.

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