Archbold, OH
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Shovel Sidewalks, Council Says

Ask About Snow Removal Laws

Members of Archbold Village Council discussed two recent snowstorms and the possibility of establishing a law requiring homeowners to shovel their sidewalks.

Snow has been a topic of conversation throughout the village, after more than 10 inches of snow fell on Archbold in a six-day period.

The Archbold Wastewater Treatment Plant recorded two inches of snow between 8 am, Monday, Jan. 31, and 8 am, Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Then, between Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 2, another five inches fell.

Another half-inch fell between Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 3.

Then on Saturday, Feb. 5, the area was walloped with another five inches of snow. That snowfall cancelled a number of activities, including the Pettisville High School Homecoming basketball game and dance.

There are those in the community who think that more snow fell than the official figures reflect. Ordinances

Council members directed Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, to get copies of snow removal ordinances from other communities.

Howell said in a Tuesday morning interview past councils had looked at a snow removal ordinance, but decided, “it could cause a lot of problems.

“Any ordinance that is passed must be enforced uniformly. The committee that studied this years ago decided it could cause problems if you enforce an ordinance against people who are not able to remove snow,” Howell said. Council

Kenny Cowell, councilman, complimented the village street department for keeping streets clear during the snowstorms of Tuesday night-Wednesday morning, February 1-2, and Saturday, Feb. 5.

But, he said many sidewalks in the village, which are the responsibility of the individual property owner, aren’t getting shoveled.

He said he learned the village does not have a law about keeping sidewalks clear.

Kevin Morton, councilman, said some people have to walk to work because they can’t drive, and if some public sidewalks aren’t getting shoveled, they can’t do it effectively.

Vaughn Bentz, councilman, asked if there was an easy way to get sidewalk snow removal ordinances from other communities.

Morton said he struggles with the difference between those who can’t shovel their sidewalks and those that won’t.

“People have to use sidewalks,” he said.

Morton said there are a lot of young people who would be willing to shovel walks to earn extra money.

“For a lot of young people that’s a new baseball glove in the spring,” he said.

Cowell said the late Chuck Rychener, former Archbold mayor, would organize church groups to rake leaves and shovel snow for those who couldn’t.

Morton wondered if it was possible to have the Ministerial Association take on the job of coordinating snow shovelers with those who need snow shoveled.

In a Tuesday interview, Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, agreed with Howell.

“Obviously, you’ve probably got 100 people who have not shoveled their walks.

“It would be a burden on the police department. How many houses would they have to check?”

He noted there are around 1,770 garbage pickup stops in the village. That could be close to the total number of properties that have to be checked for shoveled sidewalks.

Then, there would be the question of fair enforcement, as someone would feel the law is being enforced against him and him alone.

“’You did this to me, why didn’t you do it to them?’” he said.

Council, of course, has the final decision, Wyse said. Solution

But he said he hopes council can find away to create something that will solve the problem of snow-covered sidewalks, “but yet not create something we can’t consistently enforce.”

Such an ordinance would probably state that when snowfall exceeds a certain amount, walks must be shoveled.

“But what if you get an inch of snow, and it’s supposed to be 40 degrees the next day and it’s all going to melt?” Wyse asked.

Then, what about days when snow falls, then the temperature falls below zero, and it becomes dangerous to be outside? Should the ordinance be enforced then?

“There are so many possibilities,” he said.

He said he knows of cases where village residents clear their neighbors’ sidewalks, without asking for money or even a thank you.

Cowell said, “It would be nice if the Buckeye put something in (the newspaper) asking people to shovel their walks.”

“It all comes back to being a good neighbor,” Wyse said.


The great law of culture: let each become all that he was created capable of being.– Thomas Carlyle

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