With snow comes responsibility

B y Jaime Thomas

When the temperatures drop well below zero and the wind chill brings it down a few notches, it’s pretty tempting to curl up under a blanket with hot cocoa.

Those who own a home or business, though, should shovel first and warm up later.

Both the village and town of Granville require residents to take care of their own properties following a storm.

“The village has a sidewalk ordinance that your sidewalk is free of snow and ice,” Village Clerk Rick Roberts said. And Highway Superintendent Eric Towne said those that live in the town are also responsible for the sidewalks in front of their residences.

Though the department of public works does have a sidewalk plow, Superintendent of Public Works Dan Williams said it serves as a courtesy more than anything.

“We’re trying to make it easier for residents to maintain sidewalks,” he said, so residents are expected to finish the cleanup by shoveling and spreading sand or salt. He said the most important reason for home and business owners to clear their sidewalks is to protect themselves from legal action.

“If their sidewalk isn’t clear and a pedestrian is forced to walk in the street and is hit by a car, the homeowner is 100 percent responsible. Even if there was ice, and a pedestrian slipped and fell, it’s still the property owner’s responsibility,” Williams said.

Residents do own their property up to the road and are expected to do their part, and the code enforcement officer would want someone if they didn’t take care of their sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time, Roberts said.

But he also said the village takes extenuating circumstances into consideration; officials wouldn’t expect an elderly resident to shovel after a heavy snowstorm, for example.

“The village tries to be reasonable,” he said. With 18 to 20 miles of sidewalk within the village and only eight hours in a typical workday, however, it helps when residents shovel.

Within two to three days of a snowfall, Roberts said town workers go through nearly all the sidewalks in the village.

“The village has a sidewalk plow, which has a v-plow and snow blower that can be mounted. Usually they use the v-plow because it’s very slow with the blower,” Roberts said.

Towne also said it’s important for town residents to shovel.

“It makes it safer for people that do walk and especially the elderly,” he said.

The state pays the village to plow Quaker and Main streets, and when more than 6 inches of snow falls village employees remove it and drop it off at either Mettowee Park or the wastewater treatment plant.

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