If snow accumulates in Waupaca, residents are responsible for removing snow and clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours after any snowfall. Landlords and tenants should establish who will be responsible for snow/ice removal in their rental agreement. It is also required to use sand, salt, or a mixture of the two to reduce the risk of slipping and falling for pedestrians on said sidewalks. Please do your part to ensure that our sidewalks are safe.
Importance of Snow Clearing
Clearing snow and ice from all walking infrastructure —not just along sidewalks, but also at crosswalks, curb ramps, and bus stops, etc.—is an essential part of making walking practical, safe, and comfortable in the winter. It promotes and encourages year-round walking and can reduce the risk of injuries from slips and falls. Approximately one-third of the U.S. population does not drive. This group includes children, people with certain disabilities, seniors, those who cannot afford a personal vehicle, postal workers/mail carriers and those who simply choose not to drive. Sidewalks and crosswalks are necessary infrastructure for ensuring that people can walk or use a mobility device to access destinations or public transit. Additionally, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Regulation §35.133 requires maintaining ADA-compliant access to walkways year-round, which includes snow and ice clearing.
1st: $150 fee
2nd: $150 fee
3rd: $150 + $169 citation
4th: $150 + $200.50 citation
8.09 – SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL.
RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNER OR OCCUPANT. The owner or occupant of a lot or parcel abutting on a sidewalk within the City shall clear said sidewalk of snow or ice to the width of the sidewalk within 24 hours of the cessation of any snowfall. If ice forms so that it cannot be removed, such person shall keep the sidewalks sprinkled with a material which will reduce the risk to pedestrians of slipping and falling on such sidewalk. Snow not timely removed and ice not timely removed or sprinkled shall be deemed a public nuisance, as provided in sec. 10.05(13) of this Code.
REMOVAL OF SNOW AND ICE BY CITY. In the event the owner or occupant fails to remove snow or ice in conformity with this section, the Director of Public Works may direct City employees to remove such snow and ice and charge the cost thereof as a special tax against the property. The cost shall be based on time, materials and overhead expense.
PLOWING SNOW ONTO STREETS PROHIBITED. The owner or lessee of every lot or parcel in the City shall not by himself/herself or his/her agent push, plow or otherwise deposit snow from within his/her lot line onto the public street or alley.
General Process for Enforcement
- Public Works and the City’s Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector attempt to inspect properties approximately 48-72 hours after a snow fall event occurs.
Note: Timing of inspection is dependent on Staff availability and weather. The Snow Removal Ordinance states that sidewalks should be clear of snow and salted/sanded (as applicable) within 24 hours of the end of a snow fall event. If it snows again/will snow again within the 48-72 hour timeframe, inspections will be delayed until after the last snow fall event ends.
- A list of un-shoveled properties is created during the inspection process and provided to the Streets Department after completion. Note: The whole City is inspected after each snow fall event (as weather permits).
- The Streets Department sets a day to have crews, usually two, shovel/snow blow and salt/sand all needed properties. Pictures are taken of each property before and after any work is completed. Note: If a property that is on the list turns out to be cleared when the Streets Department gets to it, it is crossed off the list, not shoveled and the property owner does not get billed. Likewise, if a property is found that has not been cleared and is not on the list, the Streets Department will clear the property as long as they are out with the equipment.
- Once the Streets Department completes the necessary snow clearing, the list of cleared properties is then provided to both the Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector and Clerks Department
- The Clerks Department then utilizes that list to bill the property owner a based on the below fee schedule.
- Repeat offenders in the same season may receive a higher fee or an additional citation added to their fee.
What happens if the property owner does not pay?
Fees are billed first and added to the following years tax roll if not paid by the end of the year. Citations are taken to court.
Why $150 for a fee?
$150 was selected as it is the typical average cost when all elements to perform the service are combined (labor, materials, equipment, etc.).
How are residents notified of this requirement?
This requirement is not specific to Waupaca. Most every community has a requirement that is near identical to ours. First and foremost, the requirement for snow clearing is within our municipal code of ordinances. As a courtesy and to spread the word more effectively, the city utilizes newsletters, utility mailings, social media, our City website, radio and video postings to relay this information to the public. The City will not do door hangers or mail letters due to time constraints. Multiple forms of notification are in place to supplement these items.
Is 24 hours enough time?
The crew prioritizes City streets and City owned property before going out to clear any sidewalks that are not the direct responsibility of the City. Given this lead time, inspections do not usually occur until approx. 48 hours after the snow fall event at the earliest. Crews then do not get out to clear the sidewalks until over 48 hours have passed. This should be more than enough time for residents or companies hired to clear. Safety is our priority and the City needs to ensure that paths are cleared in a reasonable time frame.
Popular to contrary belief, the Streets Department will not unnecessarily shovel properties that do not need to be shoveled. Their time is valuable, and they are professionals at time management (that’s why they are able to do all of our streets in such an efficient manner!!). Weather is always considered when shoveling. If multiple snow fall events are to occur within days of each other, the process of inspection and snow clearing of areas and sidewalks that are not the direct responsibility of the City are delayed until the snowfall events conclude.