Des Plaines seeking to strengthen fines for snow-removal scofflaws

  • A person shows how the sidewalk on the 1500 block of South Lee Street in Des Plaines is covered by snow and ice this winter, despite a city ordinance requiring clear sidewalks.

    A person shows how the sidewalk on the 1500 block of South Lee Street in Des Plaines is covered by snow and ice this winter, despite a city ordinance requiring clear sidewalks. Courtesy of Des Plaines

 
 
Updated 4/1/2022 1:58 PM

A proposal to boost penalties for commercial property owners in Des Plaines who don't remove snow from public sidewalks could get even stricter.

The city council on Monday is set to approve adding a mobilization fee of at least $250 to what it charges property owners when public works crews or city-hired contractors have to remove snow off sidewalks at businesses. That fee was included in a preliminary version of the plan approved March 21.

 

But in a new twist, fines for not clearing 2 inches or more of snow within 24 hours after a storm will be set at mandatory amounts.

If the plan is approved, fines will be $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $750 for additional violations. Right now those are the maximum possible amounts for fines, and officials have latitude when assessing penalties.

The changes are designed to compel property owners to keep their sidewalks safe for their customers. That's especially been a problem along Lee Street between the Canadian National Railroad tracks and Oakton Street, officials have said.

That's in Alderman Carla Brookman's 5th Ward.

"We have to get their attention," Brookman said Friday. "Hopefully they will comply and we won't have to collect any money from them."

Salting and plowing sidewalks each cost the city $500 per mile, per pass, officials have said. When the city does it because a business hasn't, it charges the business for the service and assesses a 25% administrative fee.

Monday's city council meeting is set for 7 p.m. at city hall, 1420 Miner St. The meeting will be livestreamed at bit.ly/3DDpmMz.

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