Culver Work Session May Extend Sidewalk Snow Removal to Commercial District

culverThe Town of Culver may consider snow removal from the sidewalks of some commercial businesses in the near future.

Business representatives asked the Town to consider implementing the service after it was noticed that the downtown merchants often scoop their sidewalks at different points in the day. The inconsistent snow can obstruct pedestrian traffic.

Town Council President Ginny Bess Munroe was initially interested in putting regulating language into place.

“It seems we would probably need to put an ordinance in place to start with and the ordinance would determine whether or not you’re required to remove the snow,” says Munroe. “If we don’t currently have one, there’s nothing to enforce.”

The recommendation has been brought to the Town Council’s attention before, but has not gained any serious traction. By putting the burden on the Town, the businesses say they can keep the snow removal consistent, but also avoid questions of liability if they simply performed the work themselves.

Town Manager Jonathan Leist says he has done some initial work such as calling a handful of companies to provide estimates. The commercial districts would be the focus, but requiring residential landowners to perform the work through an ordinance was also brought up. Interest waned a bit after discussing the logistics of enforcing such an ordinance.

Munroe says fairness is another problem they’ve run into in the past.

“Last time we discussed this, it came into the meeting that: okay, if you’re going to pay to plow sidewalks for commercial business with taxpayers dollars, why not plow my sidewalk?” says Munroe.

Culver currently has an ordinance that says sidewalks may not be obstructed, but nothing pertaining to snow removal.

The Town Council agreed to hold a work session and invite representatives of the business community to provide input before moving forward. An emphasis was put on implementing a plan while snow remains a weather issue in the community.