Drift of Bel Air snow law easy to catch

January 23, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Pedestrians in Bel Air need not curse the ice and snow along town sidewalks and parking lots, authorities say.

A town law regarding ice and snow removal is specific, said Chris Schlehr, superintendent of public works: A property owner or tenant has 24 hours from the time the sleet or snow stops to clear it away.

Enforcement is less precise. Town police officers help public works personnel, especially in the commercial district, by knocking on doors and reminding merchants to remove snow and ice, Mr. Schlehr said.

After a snow or ice storm, town crews begin salting and plowing or shoveling public streets and sidewalks according to predetermined routes.

Each two-person crew follows a map and takes care of designated areas, Mr. Schlehr said.

The crews then move on to areas with lower priority.

Town property is the top concern, and commercial areas are high on the list because of the heavy pedestrian traffic there, Mr. Schlehr said.

If property owners do not comply by promptly removing snow and ice, citations may be written, he said.

"We first try to contact the property owner and ask them to take care of the problem within a short time period," Mr. Schlehr said. "If they don't, we'll do it and send them a bill."

Mr. Schlehr recalled the time that the owner of a property in the 100 block of S. Main St. in Bel Air was contacted after the blizzard last March.

"We had to send a crew there and chip away the ice, and I believe we sent him a bill for $75," Mr. Schlehr said.

County residents or visitors are always welcome to call the Department of Public Works with specific complaints, he said.

"We take complaints seriously and certainly don't ignore them," he said. "Of course, we're always going to give the property owner a chance to comply with the law."

The amount of snow or ice also is a factor, he said.

"During the blizzard of '93, it just took more time for a lot of people to clear their sidewalks," he said. "We have to be more lenient in times like that."

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