Lynn beefing up snow removal law - News

Lynn beefing up snow removal law

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, December 27, 2010 12:00 am

LYNN - Neglecting to shovel your sidewalk could translate to a fine or, worse, a lien on your property.

The City Council earlier this year revised the ordinance governing snow and ice removal. The ordinance was reviewed by the Law Department and could be enacted by the council on Tuesday.

The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) issues tickets that can be paid at the Parking Department or challenged at Lynn District Court.

All property owners are responsible for snow and ice removal from sidewalks to ensure pedestrian safety. Under the previous system, landlords were given four hours to remove accumulated snow from their sidewalks if the snow ceased falling between 7 a.m and 6 p.m. The provision will change so that owners of commercial property must clear sidewalks within three hours during snowfalls that occur between sunrise and sunset.

Residential property owners will have 10 hours to clear their sidewalks.

"We don't expect residential property owners to be out there shoveling at 3 a.m.," said ISD Director Michael Donovan. "But businesses have three hours after sunrise because people have to go to work."

He said property owners are also responsible for making openings in snow banks between the streets and sidewalks at crosswalks, street corners and bus stops.

Mailboxes erected at or near a gutter line must be durable enough to withstand snow-clearing efforts. U.S. Postal Service letter carriers will not deliver mail if the walkway is not cleared.

The ordinance also requires that sidewalks abutting corner homes or businesses be kept clear of snow and ice, the path made wide enough for a pedestrian pushing a stroller or using a wheelchair to safely pass.

Donovan noted that Lynn, like other communities, has begun complying with a state standard established by the Architectural Access Board on how wide a sidewalk must be clear.

"We're going with a minimum path of 42 inches to comply with the state agency that also handles the American With Disabilities Act," Donovan said, referring to Massachusetts General Law 40U.

The average sidewalk in Lynn is 48 inches wide.

"Landlords who throw or dump snow from their sidewalks into the street will be fined," he said.

If snow and ice is not removed within the prescribed time allotted by the ordinance, a second fine will be imposed.

Donovan said most ISD inspectors will issue a warning for the first offense and a $50 fine for the second.

"But if you throw your snow in the street, the fine is $100 for a first offense," he said. "You won't get a warning if you're caught doing that."

Few tickets were issued last winter because the city received only 32 inches of snowfall. "It was what I would call a nice winter," Donovan said.

Assessor Peter Caron said fines for failure to remove snow and ice will be added to the landlord's property tax bill if still unpaid by the year's end.

If the outstanding amount becomes substantial, the fines may become a property lien.

"We did tack on a number of liens for board-ups," said Caron.

He explained that fines are imposed on landlords whose foreclosed properties are not boarded up.

"If we have to hire a board-up company, we send the bill to the landlord. If it doesn't get paid, we get a lien on the property."

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 6:44 pm on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.


    Email or call your councilor and the mayor and tell them to vote against this.

  • posted at 8:08 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.


    @ watchit..............I have worked for the LYNN D.P.W. for the past 17 years. I plowed this past storm for over 24 hours straight. Of course not every street is going to be perfect, but I will bet you that 99% of the streets plowed by the DPW were suffice. People like to criticize everybody else, im sure you werent out there helping your neighbor!!! Or maybe your jealous of city employees!!!

  • posted at 4:54 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.


    notthistime, my comment was sarcastic. See the word "sarcasm" below? The residency law is a joke and 99% of the people are not going to perform any better if they live in the same city where they work. I rather have the most qualified people working for the city regardless of where they reside.

  • posted at 3:51 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.


    notthistime - Maybe you do a good job, but apparently you weren't involved with plowing in my neighborhood. What do you mean by "did a number"? That could be taken to ways. Whoever plowed my neighborhood did a number, alright - if you mean they got away with getting paid to do a crappy job. Your implied threats added a nice touch too. Nice attitude.

  • posted at 2:24 am on Thu, Dec 30, 2010.


    Hay harlan stearns I am a city worker and yes i am dedicated to my job i put in 100percent every day the plow drivers did a number on the city and still get paid and yes i have to live in this ---- city but the gangs do to i wish you would say where you live no guts thank you lyn1luv

  • posted at 7:06 am on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.


    lyn1luv, the city workers have to live in Lynn because they will be more "dedicated" to the city and care more about their job performance just like the plow drivers did. Imagine how much worse it would be if the plowers lived outside the city?(sarcasm)

  • posted at 4:41 am on Wed, Dec 29, 2010.


    well obviously this was not in forced.but i believe we need to fine the plow operators to. the non existing plowing done in this city was horrible.and don't give me wind conditions or people back shoveling onto the roads. every other community surrounding us was clear down to pavement. i am so angry that Lynn has dropped the ball again.i mean Ive been living here for 45 plus years and i cant wait to move the hell out as soon as my city worker husband is allowed to..really do they have to make all city employees live in this town.

  • posted at 2:25 pm on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Funny stuff!The Snow Nazis are dictating to the lemings that they MUST remove the shite stuff within a specific time frame. Yet the lemings are all mad because they have been told that they MUST remove the snow. Can someone please tell me again why I would want to relocate to such a wonderous spot?You own a home? Clean off the sidewalk! Rent? Do teh same, as YOU walk on those sidewalks too. Imagine if no one cleaned them off?

  • posted at 2:02 pm on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Clearing the streets of snow is not rocket science. First you have to tow EVERYONE that parks on the street. If you cannot tow them all ticket them with hefty tickets. Then, if you are going to use light trucks( like Lynn does) you start plowing as soon as you have an inch of snow. If you want to wait like they do you need bigger trucks from the git go.

  • posted at 1:38 pm on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Why are sidewalks used as drivways now???? How does a wheelchair, baby carriage or even two people walk down a sidewalk that a car is parked on. Look at the house on Western ave at intersection of eastern corner lot nothing shoveled but they did plow the sidewalk long enough to fit a car on. Please if you ever fine me for anything i will be all over you. I don't know why my posts about sidewalk parking hardly ever make it on the post.

  • posted at 12:37 pm on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Is the ISD going to fine the DPW because the streets are pitiful. Do you have to pay the plowers extra to actually drop their plows?

  • posted at 8:44 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    soooooo who gets fined or not paid for the plowing jobs on Parkland Ave and Walnut St? How is it 12 hours after the storm and there is still snow on the main streets like Western Ave ? When you cross the border on Walnut St from Lynn into Saugus it's embarrassing to see the difference in plow jobs.

  • posted at 5:29 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    I'm with Harlan. By and large, most people do the right thing. I have a snow blower and clear the sidewalks for half of my block. No one has to ask me or threaten me with fines. I gotta walk these sidewalks too.

  • posted at 3:54 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Its fuzzy math. 42" plus the 4 ft wide mound of snow pushed up onto the sidewalk by the plows doesn't add up to clean ADA compliant sidewalks. The city ( yes i said CITY) needs to do snow removal in the business district, at crosswalks, and bus stops.

  • posted at 3:46 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    Another ordinance that either will not be enforced or enforced selectively. And is unreasonable to boot. Discouraged worker, I see why you're discouraged. Wy can't we fine the DPW for not keeping our streets clean?

  • posted at 1:30 am on Tue, Dec 28, 2010.


    You can expect the usual selective enforcement on this. I would bet that GE does not clear all the walks on Federal Street, Bennet Street and all of the other property they own in West Lynn. Also check out the other businesses on Bennet Street and the Lynnway. Where does it say there are exemption? Now that I have identified the owners lets see some action.

  • posted at 6:41 pm on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    So how about a new city ordinance? How about we shovel the sidewalks as soon as Lynn plows the streets. It's an absolute mess out there still. Every other city has clean plowed streets.

  • posted at 3:32 pm on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    anyone else see the report today of East Boston snowplow drivers extorting $$ from residents to leave clear areas they'd already shoveled? that's what it's going to come to here, too.

  • posted at 3:30 pm on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    42" is more than 12" wider than needed for any wheelchair known to man. Further, snowplows then leave a snowbank that intrudes onto the sidewalks - sometimes to the extent that a snowshovel-width or 2 is all that it's possible to clear. And what about seniors on Soc. Sec. and with heart conditions? It will take more than any 10 hours for me safely to remove snow even from within my property lines & there is NO $$ for additional fines.

  • posted at 2:25 pm on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    Let Donovan issue the first ticket. I like to see that happen since he never gets out behind his desk. Thats because he is weighed down with his overpaid position of tax cash. Another pig at the trough.

  • posted at 12:17 pm on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    "We're gonna take your house because you didn't clear our sidewalks!"sounds very unconstitutional.What do the population of lawyers at City Hall think?

  • posted at 11:36 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    I guess if you do not want to, don't shovel your sidewalk and see what happens. The government shouldn't have to legislate civility, but they have to in this day and age since many people only care about themselves.

  • adambomb posted at 9:59 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.

    adambomb Posts: 0

    this city and state is lovely.. they just wanna steal all our money.. way to go gov gang..... im ready for a king.. democracy stinks

  • posted at 6:23 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    I'll beleive it when I see it

  • posted at 5:49 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    Slumlords....get out your shovels....section 8 loafers....stay toasty warm inside & turn up your free heat

  • posted at 5:06 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    This is bull. Under any other circumstances you're told that you don't own the sidewalks. Why doesn't Lynn use it's never ending supply of convicted felons to shovel?

  • posted at 5:03 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    Question: if the average Lynn sidewalk is 48 in. wide and the law states that you must clear up to and more than 42 in. Can someone please explain it to me like I'm a 5 th grader how someone can pile up all this snow in 6 in. of workspace?

  • posted at 4:13 am on Mon, Dec 27, 2010.


    i agree , however it starts with the plows , which as of now have only created one lane on holyoke st, so to get out of driveway have to snow blow at least 6 ft into street to clear a path, you need to check on them , why does other cities have bobcats to do sidewalks of homes adjoining schools and not lynn? now after clearing snow the lovely plows will come by later and open up the road for us to again snow blow there mess