Miami University students slipping around campus and trudging through snow to get home may have to do more than scrape their car windows during this winter season. According to a City of Oxford ordinance, citizens must shovel their sidewalk or risk citation from the city.
This ordinance requires citizens to keep their sidewalk clear and clean of snow and ice. Failure to follow this ordinance could lead to a minor misdemeanor charge.
While this ordinance cites consequences for Oxford residents who do not shovel their sidewalks, its real purpose is to let citizens know their responsibilities, Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott said.
“We haven’t cited anyone and don’t intend to,” Elliott said. “We just want to inform property owners of their responsibilities.”
City officials have often considered changing this ordinance to give it more teeth, according to Elliott. These changes could include imposing a fine on citizens who do not clear their walks or giving residents a set period of time to clean their sidewalks after citation, Elliott said.
One of the reasons the ordinance is not enforced is the difficulties that accompany it. It would be a huge task for city officials to cite every property that was not clear and to know who to cite, he said.
“The difficulty is if someone is elderly, do you cite them? If someone is away from home, do you cite them?” Elliott said.
The main goal of this ordinance is to encourage students and other tenants and property owners to pitch in and clean their sidewalks, Elliott said.