Snow removal policy to get another look

Village will consider taking care of clearing public walks on back of private properties
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Village of Grafton is re-examining its policy for plowing sidewalks and considering shifting responsibility for clearing backyard sidewalks from property owners to the village.

During a Board of Public Works meeting Aug. 9, officials raised concerns that the current village policy on snow removal may be unfair to some residents with public sidewalks on both the front and back of their property — like those between Keup Road and Tanager Drive.

Under village code, property owners must clear any sidewalk abutting their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. Sidewalks on village property are plowed by the Public Works Department.

Board members noted that property owners with sidewalks in the front and back of their properties must drag snowblowers out to the street and around the block to get to the other side of their property following a snowstorm.

Board Chairman Thomas Krueger said  some longtime property owners live on lots where sidewalks were later built, creating an additional walkway for them to plow.

“To me, we put an undue difficulty on them to take care of a sidewalk they never asked for,” he said.

Board members also noted that some properties have a berm between their homes and their backyard sidewalks, creating an additional barrier for them to reach the walkway.

Public Works Director Amber Thomas said the Town of Cedarburg’s code states that the Public Works Department will clear the backyard sidewalks of properties with front and back walkways. She said it would be possible for the village to do the same if not for a shortage of employees.

“The biggest issue we have with clearing additional sidewalks is that we don’t have the staff,” she said.

Thomas said the Public Works Department plows about eight miles of sidewalk throughout the village after each snowstorm. She added that sometimes the department must clear sidewalks on private property to get to other areas that the village is responsible for clearing.

“It is a very time-consuming task to move from one to the next,” she said.

No action was taken at the meeting, but board members directed Thomas to further study how the village could improve its snow-removal policy.

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