Machias poised to fine downtown businesses that don’t shovel sidewalks

Posted Dec. 21, 2012, at 5:12 p.m.
There may be a run on snow shovels in downtown Machias, assuming snow ever arrives. A proposed new ordinance would allow the town to assess a $50 fine for each day owners or tenants of downtown buildings don't clear their sidewalks.
Tom Walsh | BDN
There may be a run on snow shovels in downtown Machias, assuming snow ever arrives. A proposed new ordinance would allow the town to assess a $50 fine for each day owners or tenants of downtown buildings don't clear their sidewalks. Buy Photo

MACHIAS, Maine — Downtown Machias has so far dodged the bullet in terms of dealing with significant snowfall.

When snow does arrive in a big way, tenants of downtown businesses east of the Bad Little Falls bridge better have their snow shovels ready or be ready to reach for their wallets. Town officials are poised to adopt new sidewalk regulations that will impose a $50 fine for sidewalks not cleared in a timely way.

“We’ve always received complaints about downtown sidewalks not being cleared,” Machias Town Manager Chris Loughlin said Friday.

As now drafted, the snow removal requirements would apply to the “business parts” of Main, Center and Water streets and Colonial Way.

The ordinance allows tenants or owners of vacant buildings along those streets 12 hours to clear the sidewalks once a daytime snow dump ends. If the snow arrives overnight, they have until 4 p.m. the following day to get sidewalks cleared. The proposed ordinance stipulates that a $50 fine can be imposed for each day sidewalks remain uncleared beyond those deadlines.

The process of drafting and reviewing the proposed ordinance has been dragging on for months. Between Ordinance Committee reviews and legal counsel analysis, Loughlin said it could be late January before a required public hearing is held.

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