With the return of Old Man Winter, East Aurora is spending more time brainstorming to come up with ways to make businesses and residents keep their sidewalks clear for pedestrians.
The latest idea is fluorescent door hangers for offenders.
The door hangers also could address a lack of lawn mowing or even debris built up in a yard – and a laundry list of other violations of the village code.
It all depends on what the door hangers would cost.
Village officials say they want to get aggressive and fine chronic violators if the situation doesn’t improve.
The village uses sidewalk plows but problems remain with many residents and businesses failing to maintain the walking paths or further clear the sidewalks, village officials said Tuesday.
East Aurora Police Chief Ronald Krowka said a police officer on Tuesday walked up and down Main Street in 9-degree temperatures to help flag those who needed to clear their sidewalks . The officer was greeted with a mixed reaction.
“Some told him to mind his own business,” Krowka said. “Others thanked him.”
One thing is clear. Village officials are determined to tackle the problem, which has been a chronic one for years despite previous crackdowns attempted by the village.
Mayor Allan Kasprzak said that he has been meeting with Krowka and Village Administrator Bryan Gazda to discuss other ideas, including the possibility of photographing snowy sidewalks and including the picture in a citation to violators. Now, they are researching the cost of the fluorescent door hangers, which would list the violation – an idea that Gazda said was successful in another community where he previously worked.
If the door hangers become reality, Kasprzak quipped that it could become “kind of like the Scarlet Letter,” and would likely lead to people becoming aware of who got cited for a violation made visible with a door hanger notice.
For now, the Town of Aurora’s code enforcement officer sends a letter to the violator when a complaint has been received.
It doesn’t seem to be enough to change behaviors. The village also is researching the photograph option that Kasprzak mentioned earlier this month. But there are no clear answers or perfect solutions.
“It’s one of these things that keeps on coming up in municipalities,” Kasprzak said of the snow-clearing problem. “And it never goes away. It just keeps getting worse.”
Kasprzak said a bunch of different ideas are being considered for this season that ultimately would be enforced. “Nobody is talking about hammering businesses or residents. We just want clear pathways so people can get by,” he said.
Village officials Tuesday said there is no specific time frame referenced in the village code about how soon after a snowfall the snow is expected to be cleared – unlike other communities that specify parameters.
One village resident, Gazda said, told him recently that the village should shovel the sidewalks.