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Somerville, Ma 02145

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FINAL RESIDENTIAL SNOW REMOVAL GENERAL BYLAW - § 60-800

 I. Residential Property Snow Removal.

(1) Purpose. Since pedestrians are safer when walking on Sidewalks than when walking in the streets used by vehicular traffic, the purpose of this Section is to encourage owners of residential property to remove the snow, slush, and ice from abutting Sidewalks so that Sidewalks throughout the Town are safe for use during the winter season, and so that the Town’s local services and amenities are reasonably accessible by pedestrians via Sidewalks, especially by elderly persons, persons using wheel chairs, persons using carriages to transport children, and students walking to school.

(2) Definitions. For the purposes of this Section, the following terms shall have the following definitions: (a) OBLIGATED PERSON - the person responsible for compliance with this Subsection pursuant to Paragraph (4).

(b) SIDEWALK - a paved walkway (whether paved with brick, stone, cement, concrete, asphalt, or other impervious material) that is located within the right-of-way of a street that abuts residential property.

(3) Obligations. Snow, slush, and ice shall be removed from the Sidewalk, in accordance with the deadlines set forth in Paragraph (5), to a width of at least 36 inches or, if the Sidewalk is narrower, for the full width of the Sidewalk.

(4) Obligated Persons. The owner of record of a residential property abutting a right-of-way in which a Sidewalk is located shall be obligated to comply with this Section within that portion of the right-of-way to which the residential property abuts, unless the owner of record can demonstrate that this obligation has been duly delegated to a responsible person, identified by name and address, by a written agreement signed by the person so delegated or by an express reference to the obligation in a written lease.

(5) Deadlines for Removal and Treatment.

(a) After the cessation of a weather event that has resulted in snow, slush, or ice on a Sidewalk, the snow, slush, or ice shall be removed no later than 8 p.m. the following day, and the Sidewalk shall be treated with melting compounds, sand, or other grit, as reasonably necessary to inhibit slipping. Regardless of this deadline, Obligated Persons are encouraged to remove snow, slush, and ice promptly from the full width of the Sidewalk in order to minimize the ice formed on the Sidewalk when snow or ice melts and refreezes, so that neighbors and others can use the Sidewalks as soon as possible.

(b) Treatment of ice that forms on Sidewalks shall be accomplished no later than 8 p.m. on the day after the ice has formed, but Obligated Persons are encouraged to treat the ice promptly so that neighbors and others can use the Sidewalks as soon as possible.

(c) The deadlines set forth in this Subsection shall be extended for Obligated Persons who are temporarily absent from the residential property for vacations, holidays, hospitalization, and unexpected absences; provided, however, that such Obligated Persons shall be required to complete their removal and treatment obligations by 8 p.m. on the day following the end of their temporary absence.

(6) Rules and Regulations. The Board of Selectmen shall adopt rules and regulations further implementing this Section, including, without limitation, provisions and hearing procedures for exemptions from the requirements of this Section for Obligated Persons who are physically unable to perform the obligations themselves and have a bona fide financial hardship; provided, however, that exemptions granted to such Obligated Persons shall be void if the Obligated Person causes portions of the residential property to be cleared of snow, slush, or ice for vehicular access from the street.

(7) Fines. Fines for violations of this Section shall be on the following schedule: First offense – written warning, Second offense – $50, Third and successive offences – $100 each, to a maximum of $350 per winter season (October 1 – April 30). In situations where there is more than one Obligated Person, such fines may be assessed jointly or individually. No more than one fine may be assessed with respect to any single weather event requiring removal or treatment of snow, slush or ice.

(8) Enforcement.

(a) A person who is an “Enforcing Person” as defined in Subsection J shall take appropriate action with respect to observed or reported violations of this Section.

(b) An Enforcing Person taking cognizance of such a violation, shall promptly send the alleged offender a non-criminal written citation thereof by hand delivery or mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner of record.

(c) An owner of record who receives a citation pursuant to this Subsection shall have 20 days thereafter to pay the applicable fine or to provide to the Enforcing Person a photocopy of the written agreement or lease used to delegate the obligation to comply with this Section, in which case the owner of record shall not be responsible for paying any applicable fine, and the Enforcing Person may dismiss or modify the citation or reissue the citation to the Obligated Person as is deemed appropriate.

(d) If a citation is not dismissed and the fine is not timely paid, the provisions of Subsection J, other than those establishing penalties, shall be applicable.

(9) Not Evidence. Except as required by applicable law, violations of this Section shall not be admissible as evidence of negligence in any civil proceeding brought by an injured third party against an Obligated Person, tenant, or owner of record.

(10) Sunset. This Subsection shall be null and void and have no force and effect on and after April 30, 2016.

J. In addition to the provisions for enforcement set forth elsewhere in this Article, the provisions of Subsections A, B, D(2), E(2), G, H and I of this section and any regulations promulgated thereunder may also be enforced by non-criminal disposition as provided in MGL c. 40, § 21D (“Section 21D”). The penalty for such violation shall be $300 for each offense. Each day or part thereof shall constitute a separate offense. .

(1) “Enforcing person” as used in this subsection shall mean any police officer of the Town, the Director of Public Works and any other Town employee designated by the Board of Selectmen as an enforcing person.

(2) An enforcing person taking cognizance of a violation of Subsection A, B, D(2), E(2), G, H or I or any rule or regulation adopted hereunder shall give the offender a written notice to appear before the Clerk of the District Court having jurisdiction thereof for the noncriminal disposition thereof in accordance with the provisions of § 21D. The provisions of §21D are incorporated herein by this reference.

Approved Rules and Regulations – Snow Removal Bylaw (December 16, 2013)

  1. The Director of Community Development will be responsible for the overall administration of the enforcement provisions of this bylaw. The Director of Community Development is granted the authority to exercise discretion, as he/she deems appropriate, in the overall administration of the enforcement and compliance provisions contained within this Bylaw. In exercising discretion, the Director should be guided by the following principles:

    •  The Director should give primary enforcement priority to areas near schools, or areas that serve elderly or disabled populations.

    • The Director should give secondary enforcement priority to areas that serve high volumes of pedestrians, including access points to public transportation, or where the road design poses significant risks to pedestrian or vehicular safety (such as where there are limited sight distances).

    •  The Director should enforce the Bylaw in a manner deemed most likely to secure ongoing voluntary compliance with the Bylaw as widely as possible.


2. Determination of compliance with the Bylaw regarding the removal and treatment of snow, ice or slush shall not occur before 8 p.m. as described in section 5 of the bylaw.

3. Homeowners who have an approved Clause 37A (Blind Exemption), 41C (Elderly Exemption) or Clause 22 (Veteran Disability Exemption) from the Belmont Board of Assessors as of October 1 each year shall be exempted from the requirements of the Residential Snow bylaw for the winter season which begins October 1 through April 30. However, homeowners exempted from the Bylaw are encouraged to comply voluntarily.


4. A temporary absence as referenced in section 5, item c shall be defined to be no more than 5 calendar days.

Town of Belmont Department of Public Works

THE TOWN OF BELMONT WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL RESIDENTS FOR FOLLOWING THE SIDEWALK BYLAW. IT HAS BEEN A SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM BECAUSE OF YOU.

For residential sidewalk clearing enforcement information call the Office of Community Development at 617-993-2664

Winter Storm Information SNOW EMERGENCY HOTLINE 617-993-2698

HINTS FOR COPING WITH STORMS

■ Whenever possible, it is best to pile snow to the right of the driveway (as you face the street) to reduce the potential of having it redeposited at the driveway opening when the plow passes.

■ When clearing driveways, snow should be kept on the owner’s property, the tree lawn or in the gutter. Snow should not be deposited onto the street or sidewalk, or across the street onto a neighbor’s sidewalk.

■ To avoid having to do the job twice, shovel the driveway after the storm has passed and the street has been cleared.

■ Rarely is the collection of trash and recyclables interrupted due to a winter storm. However, bundles of newspapers and recycling bins can become buried in the snow. Please consider keeping the recyclables for collection on your next recycle day if a storm is predicted.

■ Prevent street flooding by clearing catch basins near your home to allow rain or melting snow to enter the drainage system.

■ Older residents and / or persons with health problems should consult a physician before shoveling snow.

■ In the interest of you and your neighbor’s safety, shovel and clear fire hydrants of snow in your neighborhood.



VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE

A limited number of volunteer snow shovelers may be available to assist senior citizens or handicapped persons with financial hardship Contact the Council on Aging at (617) 993-2970 to Volunteer or for assistance.

SNOW REMOVAL

At times, it may be necessary to remove snow from business districts and municipal parking lots. When snow removal is scheduled or in progress, temporary “Snow Removal—No Parking” signs will be posted.

RESIDENTIAL SIDEWALKS

Belmont’s General Bylaws, Section 60-800I require sidewalks to be cleared on paved public sidewalks adjacent to residential property and made safe for pedestrians. Residents have until 8:00 pm the day following the end of the storm to clear the sidewalk of snow, slush and ice adjacent to their property to ensure safe pedestrian passage. Please see Section 60-800I of the General Bylaws for more information. For enforcement information call the Office of Community Development at 617-993-2664.

COMMERCIAL SIDEWALKS

Section 60-800H of the Town’s General Bylaw applies to owners and/or tenants of commercial property and states that the owner and/or tenant is responsible for the removal and treatment of ice and snow on the abutting sidewalks within twelve (12) hours after the same, shall cease to fall or be formed on such sidewalks.

WHERE CAN I PUT THE SNOW?

RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES ARE REMINDED NOT TO SHOVEL, BLOW OR THROW SNOW ONTO THE STREETS OR PILE IT BLOCKING THE SIDEWALK.

Snow in these locations creates a hazard. Also, we would appreciate reminding your contractor not to shovel, blow or plow snow onto the streets or sidewalks. Section 60-800A of the Town’s General Bylaw states in part, “no person, other than an authorized Town agent , shall place or throw or cause to be placed or thrown onto any public sidewalk, street or highway or upon any of the common lands of the Town any snow, dirt, gravel or suffer the same to remain thereon after being notified by a police officer to remove same.”


SNOW AND ICE CONTROL POLICY

The Town of Belmont’s snow and ice control policy is to make the roads passable and reasonably safe considering the weather conditions. During a storm, our objective is to keep the roads accessible for police, fire and ambulance services. After the storm, we strive to make the roads safe for the general public. We are committed to providing an effective, efficient service.

ICE CONTROL OPERATIONS

The Belmont Public Works Highway Division is responsible for treating and plowing more than 86 miles of streets, four municipal parking lots, the parking areas surrounding six public schools and most municipal buildings. The streets in Belmont have been divided into prioritized routes. Primary and secondary streets and hills receive priority attention due to traffic volume and/or potential safety hazards. During light snow and ice conditions, the streets are treated in sequence according to traffic volume or hazardous conditions and made safe as quickly as possible.

TOWN SIDEWALK CLEARING

Generally, whenever there is a significant snow storm, the Town of Belmont will plow sidewalks as soon as possible on paved public sidewalks adjacent to public property.

NO OVERNIGHT PARKING

General Bylaw 60-805C prohibits on-street parking for over one (1) hour in Belmont between the hours of 1:00 A.M. And 7:00 A.M.

SNOW EMERGENCY PARKING BAN

Under Section 260-805F of the Town Bylaws, the Board of Selectmen may declare a Snow Emergency Parking Ban for additional hours when no parking is allowed on any street. The Bylaw was passed to allow the Highway Division to do a better job clearing the roadways. Parked cars force us to leave snow in the road and make the plow operator’s job very difficult. If declared, the parking ban will be announced on Stations WBZ, WCVB, WHDH, myTV38, WLVI and WFXT and affiliated radio stations as well as radio stations 99.5 WCRB and 90.9 WBUR. If time permits, it will also be announced on Cable Channel 8 and the Town of Belmont’s News and Notices Section located on-line at www.belmont-ma.gov. Vehicles that are in violation of the parking ban will be towed.


PLOWING OPERATIONS

Belmont’s streets are divided into plow routes. During significant snow storms, the streets on each route are plowed in sequence and made passable as quickly as possible. While it is snowing, the snowplow operators are instructed to “open up’ each route. This means that they will keep at least one lane plowed so necessary police, fire and ambulance services can reach each resident at all times. When the storm abates, the plow operators “widen out’ all streets by pushing the accumulated snow back towards the curb line and clearing the intersections. It is important that the operators push the snow back towards the curb line because if we experience an especially snowy winter, the snow will begin to limit the width of the roadway and compromise safety. To avoid shoveling your property several times, residents should wait to clear their driveways until the plowing operation is finished (generally within two hours after the snow has stopped falling). Some residents prefer to clear snow periodically to avoid having to move a lot of snow at one time.