[This post originally appeared on Save Mohegan Lake. If you live within one of the seven home owner associations surrounding the lake, you may want to subscribe to the RSS feed or like it on facebook, or both.]
Over the holidays, I found myself home alone for a couple days. No kids. No wife. I took the opportunity to patronize a couple local eateries: Wild Fusion Asian Sushi Grill and Bar (winner of the 2012 award for longest restaurant name, ever), and Brodie's. The Winery was closed. I found out after I trudged through the snow for a snifter of wine.
Which brings me to my main point: snow removal is your friend. It's a friend of business because if walking to your establishment is an option, that's a good thing. As a consumer, I sure like that option too. Especially if parking is tight (route 6, I'm looking at you) and you can walk to a couple nearby businesses without moving your car. Yorktown wisely, it would seem, put a local law on the books at the end of 2011. You can read the whole thing here on the Yorktown website. You can also see a map of the snow removal districts. A couple small, out of the way ones that appear in areas you wouldn't suspect, like camp Nabby.
The law reads, in part:
In a Snow Removal District within twelve 12 hours after a precipitation event has concluded, the owner and or occupant of premises abutting or bordering on paved sidewalks along a town street shall remove all snow and ice from such sidewalks or in the cases where the snow and ice on the sidewalks cannot be removed without injury to the sidewalks shall thoroughly cover the sidewalk with sand salt or other suitable material so as to make the sidewalk safe for public use.
"Precipitation event." Good stuff. But seriously, the Yorktown lawmakers had their hearts in the right place when they passed this legislation. I just wish they would take the next step and enforce it. Sometimes I feel like there's literally no enforcement around these parts.
We are left with a hot mess that is--ironically--cold and icy and incredibly hard to get rid of after--say--a 12 hour period. There is no foreseeable let up in the freezing temps. You might think that I'm just a whiner, but I'm reminded of my mother who was taken too soon by cancer; she spent the last year or so in a wheelchair. ADA accessibility is poor to begin with and snow and ice can literally make sidewalks impassable. I can't imagine my pregnant wife traversing some of these areas with our 3 maniacal, but beautiful, children.
What would I do to fix the problem, you ask? I would start by enforcing the law. Issue a violation to a property or lease owner for non-compliance accompanied by a civil penalty. Not a bad source of revenue, eh? Maybe owners just consider the fines the cost of doing business (e.g. FedEx absorbing parking fines). Maybe they actually shovel and salt their walks. I prefer the latter, but, if they don't comply there has to be a consequence. Otherwise, just don't pass the law in the first place. Remember, the law was enacted over a year ago.
Landlord doesn't pay the fine? That's easy, the civil penalty becomes a judgement lien and sits on the title of the property. It's not rocket science. We could even go further and hire companies to clear the sidewalks of deadbeat owners and bill them back for this service. Let's be reasonable and start small though. Baby steps. If only Yorktown had an employee(s) responsible for enforcing our laws. If only.
[note: all of the photos included were taken well past the 12 hour completion of this "precipitation event"--note the dry roads; to date (1/3/13), there are still sidewalks unshoveled/salted].