COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS The Cottonwood Heights City Council has voted to allow residents a full day to clear snow from their sidewalks.
The March 11 ordinance amended a rule requiring residents to clear daytime snow within one hour and overnight snow by 8 a.m. The new ordinance requires residents to remove snow the same day it falls or, if it falls overnight, by 10 a.m. the next day.
The city joins the majority of Salt Lake Valley suburbs, which require snow removal within 24 hours. However, residents of Holladay and unincorporated Salt Lake County are still bound by the one-hour rule.
The one-hour rule wasapproved just after the city was incorporated in 2005, but it wasn't being enforced, city officials said.
City residents brought the ordinance to light this past January during a series of heavy winter storms.
A KSL-TV story on the ordinance caught Cottonwood Heights council members and Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore by surprise. The snow removal ordinance had been created along with hundreds of others and they weren't aware it was so stringent.
"This one apparently wasn't reviewed very carefully," Warnick said. "The council members were just not really aware that's what the requirement was."
Council members and the mayor directed staff to rewrite and amend the ordinance, and asked that it not be enforced.
"Now it's much more reasonable, with ample time to comply," Cullimore said. "It's really a public safety issue more than anything."
No punishment is attached to the ordinance but violating it could result in a misdemeanor citation, Warnick said.
"Like some other city ordinances, there is no punishment specified," said. "It's just an encouragement to comply, to keep the city in good condition."
The city isn't interested in collecting fines over snowy sidewalks, Cullimore said. In fact, the city has taken steps to arrange neighborhood volunteers for those unable to clear their own walks. Firefighters have also pitched in to clear sidewalks, the mayor said.
Holladay City Manager Randy Fitts was unaware Thursday of his city's one-hour ordinance but said the City Council would likely follow in Cottonwood Heights' footsteps in relaxing the rule.
"I don't know if we've ever cited anybody," he said. "I'll mention that to the council."Salt Lake County is also in the process of revising its ordinance, said Division Director of Operations Kevyn Smeltzer. The county has not been enforcing the one-hour rule and plans to allow 10 hours for snow removal, he said.