Please enjoy the McDonough Family of Des Plaines Illinois shoveling their walk. Fox News Chicago covered the family and asked them about the proposed new ordinance demanding Des Plaines Residences to keep their walks clear or pay a $750.00 fine. Ian McDonough is against this ordinance. Watch this video, click here: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail;jsessionid=1008D9A56D0098D71094D19CEAC2DC0A?contentId=5341175&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1 Photo by Patrick McDonough
8 Replies to “McDonough Family in Des Plaines fight unfair Snow Ordinance”
Carla Brookman in the video has received lots of t.v. time since she contacted you McDonough. What is with that?
Thank you Ian for deciding to take a leadership role on this proposal. Carla Brookman might try to take credit for your hard work, so watch out.
Is it right or wrong to ticket people who don’t shovel their sidewalk within a day?
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We are going to the next meeting and all heck will break lose.
Mayor: Don’t Dump Snow Back On Streets
Des Plaines Mayor Tony Arredia has made at least one request on his Christmas list known to the public: Stop throwing snow in the street.
“I ask people, don’t put snow in the street after the snow plows have gone by,” Arredia said on Wednesday.
Arredia made his wishes known initially at the City Council meeting on Monday.
The concern is that when people shovel their driveways or sidewalks, and dump the snow back in the street it creates a mess, and possibly a safety hazard.
“Everybody’s been doing it for a long time, not only here, but everywhere,” said Arredia. “I made a simple request, don’t put snow in the street. It would be a nice Christmas gift.
“If you lived in a house and you got through with your sidewalk, and your neighbor put snow on your sidewalk, what would you ask him to do?” The mayor said there would not be any fines issued for shoveling and blowing snow back into the street, but that it makes it seem as if the snow plow never came through.
“I’m asking them to do it, I don’t know how hard it is for them to do it,” said Arredia of his request to the residents. “We’ll see with the next snow fall.”
Des Plaines may fine residents, businesses that don’t shovel sidewalks
Des Plaines mulls snow ordinances
By Liam Ford | Tribune staff reporter
December 24, 2007
Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Post Comment Text size: As Des Plaines officials consider how to make sidewalks less slippery after big snowfalls, their solutions could include pelting homeowners — and more likely, businesses — with hefty fines.
If the proposal is approved, the suburb would join a growing list of Chicago-area communities where sidewalks are required to be cleared after each snowstorm. Fines often range from as little as a few bucks to a whopping $750.
After recent complaints, the Des Plaines proposal is undergoing revisions, so residents worried about the prospect of more snow can rest easy — at least for now. But in Oak Park, which this winter joined the ranks of villages where shovel-shirkers face stiff fines, officials say there’s been a dramatic improvement in the number of clean sidewalks.
“There’s been exceptional compliance. There’s been a definite improvement over last year,” said Oak Park spokesman David Powers.
From East Dundee to Cicero to Palos Heights, many suburbs require property owners to clear sidewalks — and each year a few more add snow-clearing rules to their books. The trend has gathered steam in recent years, as city planners focus increasingly on making villages easier places for those who want to get around on foot or in a wheelchair.
Some suburbs, Plainfield and Palatine among them, merely encourage residents to shovel, and a few, such as Elk Grove Village, even match young people willing to shovel with homeowners reluctant or unable to wield a shovel.
Other villages, such as Palos Hills, leave homeowners alone but prod local businesses to fire up the snowblowers.
As they try to figure out what to do about residential shoveling, Des Plaines officials are poised to crack down on businesses with a separate ordinance revision. Some merchants on major thoroughfares such as Oakton and Lee Streets and Mannheim Road neglect their snow-removal obligations, Ald. Carla Brookman said.
“We’ve had a long-standing problem of businesses not keeping their sidewalks clear,” Brookman said. “It forces pedestrians to walk in the street.”
State law marked change
The move toward penalizing those who let snow and ice build up on their walks is a big shift from the days when homeowners who cleared their snow could face lawsuits from someone if they slipped and fell. That changed in Illinois in 1990, when a state law immunized snow shovelers from lawsuits.
Since then, many municipalities, including Chicago, have hiked fines or put in place ordinances to force snow clearing on public sidewalks.
In February, Oak Park passed an ordinance with the same $750 maximum fine originally proposed last month for Des Plaines. Village officials said they wanted to enhance the western suburb’s pedestrian-friendly reputation, while making the slog through wintry streets a little easier, especially for students and the disabled.
“Oak Park’s a walkable community,” Powers said. “We have neighborhood schools, and children walking to them every day.”
Publicity about the ordinance helped, including hanging yellow warning notes on the front doors of several dozen residents who had not shoveled their front walks, officials said. The move has led to many more clean sidewalks this winter, Powers said. So far, no one has been fined, he said.
The Des Plaines ordinance was proposed after City Atty. David Wiltse found that an existing city ordinance regarding the responsibility of homeowners for public sidewalks didn’t specifically apply in winter.
“We already have an ordinance about keeping the sidewalks clear,” but it doesn’t refer to snow, Wiltse said.
Most Des Plaines ordinances carry a standard fine that ranges from $1 to $750, the same rate that would have applied to the proposed snow-shoveling ordinance. But the high fines drew complaints, and when Brookman and others objected, the residential ordinance was sent back to Wiltse’s staff to be redrafted and resubmitted to the City Council, most likely with lower fines.
Objections were tossed like so many snowballs at a recent Des Plaines City Council meeting on the subject. Opponents cited instances of people who can’t shovel their snow when a storm hits, and so shouldn’t be in danger of getting fined. A few pointed out that the ordinance is supposed to help the disabled and older residents, but that they could end up with a citation.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” said resident Dion Kendrick, who spoke out against the ordinance. “Why should we penalize the good ones, who might be out of town when it snows?”
Michael Van Slambrouck owns a printing business in Des Plaines and has lived in the suburb for 31 years. It would be better, he said, for the city to apply friendly pressure to homeowners and businesses.
“Making people aware of the problem, that’s government’s responsibility, and the fining portion of that, I don’t think that’s a good idea unless they’ve made numerous petitions to people that they’re in violation,” Van Slambrouck said.
Another resident, Brian Burkross, a politicial gadfly, said a smaller fine should be sufficient.
“I think if they have a $25 or $50 fine, and people aren’t shoveling and they keep getting hit, they’ll get the message,” Burkross said.
Businesses to get less leeway
Under a separate snow-removal proposal for commercial properties, businesses can expect tighter rules on how they clear their snow, including requiring that they keep handicapped parking spaces clear and don’t push snow from their parking lots onto sidewalks or streets, officials said. That measure is more likely to move forward swiftly, Brookman said.
Many suburbs have added restrictions on property owners, but some have tried and failed.
In Park Ridge, city staff recommended an ordinance in 2005 to close a loophole allowing homeowners to push snow from their driveways into the street.
“It’s a dangerous practice, and it should stop. But the City Council here felt otherwise, so you still can do it,” said City Manager Tim Schuenke.
Ian should run for Alderman.
Get those two lazy kids out there to shovel the snow. A little work won’t kill them. Shovel the walks so people dont have to walk in the streets!
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