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Bill Introduced Will Seek Higher Penalties For Businesses That Fail To Clear Sidewalks

Council Member Justin Brannan. Image Credit: NY City Council.

While many are still shoveling snow from the fourth nor’easter of the year, a new bill looks to increase penalties on chain business owners who fail to clear sidewalks. On March 7, 2018, Council Member Justin Brannan introduced a bill that will amend the Department of Sanitation section of the administrative code by increase the penalties for chain business owners who fail to properly remove snow, ice, and dirt from sidewalks following a snowfall. Council member Brannan hopes these changes will encourage increased enforcement by property owners with larger stretches of icy sidewalks that pose serious hazards to local residents while preventing smaller independent stores with less square footage and sidewalk space from being penalized unnecessarily.

Chain businesses under this rule include any establishment that is part of a group of establishments that share a common owner or principal who owns at least 30 percent of each establishment. The bill will not affect businesses that have under ten locations.

Currently, the penalties for failure to remove the snow are $100-$150 for a first offense and up to $350 for a third and subsequent offense. The bill will increase these penalties to $500-$1000 for the first violation, $1000-$3000 for second violation within any twelve-month period, $3000-$5000 for third or subsequent violations within any twelve-month period.

Council Member Brannan said: “Trying to navigate the city streets after a snowstorm is bad enough without the added danger of snow drifts and ice. Failing to shovel your sidewalk creates a dangerous situation that puts pedestrians at risk, especially our many senior citizens. If these large national retailers and banks aren’t responsible enough to do their jobs as property owners, then the city needs to take steps to increase penalties and enforcement.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, which is chaired by Council Member Antonio Reynoso.