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Salt Lake Reconsiders Snow Removal Ordinance

Tonia Torrence

The Salt Lake City Council is reconsidering an ordinance which penalizes residents if they fail to clear snow and ice off their sidewalks.  The Council discussed the issue at their meeting Tuesday after several council members received warnings that their own walkways were not sufficiently clear. 

Tonia Torrence came back from a trip in early January to find a citation in her mailbox.  She had been fined 50 dollars for not clearing her sidewalk of snow and ice.

“I looked at all the streets around, and all the neighbors around, and said everybody has snow and ice on their sidewalks, and I thought this is pretty ridiculous,” Torrence told KUER.

An ordinance passed by the City Council in 2010 requires that sidewalks be cleared within 24 hours after snow has stopped falling, or residents will be fined 50 dollars, and the fines go up as time goes on.  Torrence felt the fine was unjust and the law unreasonable, so she went to the neighborhoods of city council members and reported them to the city’s enforcement division. Councilmember Charlie Luke of District 6 got a warning in the mail, and some of his neighbors were fined.

“I know that several people on my street whose walks I personally shoveled - they had been issued tickets for 50 dollars,” said Luke.

The Council discussed this week the possibility of modifying the language of the ordinance or changing the way the law is enforced.  As for Tonia Torrence, she would like all fines after the recent snowstorm to be tossed out.

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