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Contractors clear up York City snow snafu

Sean Philip Cotter

Shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Joyce Kopp heard a sound outside and looked out her window to see a front-loader coming in "like a bear," clearing away the snow that had been causing her so much worry.

This came a day after the 67-year-old York City resident told The York Dispatch she'd gotten a notice on her door on Monday, telling her she could face a $100-plus fine if she didn't clear the sidewalk of snow — several-foot-high mounds of hard-packed ice and snow that York City contractors had dumped on her already-shoveled sidewalk last week. The grandmother lives on the corner of East Cottage Place and Pine Street and estimated Tuesday that people clearing city roads had dumped snow on about 20 feet of sidewalk around the corner.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 201--Joyce Kopp shows snow she says city crews dropped on her sidewalk after it was cleared. She received a reminder from the city that the snow needed to be cleared. Residents who don't clear sidewalks adjacent to their homes face fines of $100 or more. Bill Kalina photo

Steve Buffington, the city's deputy director of permits, planning and zoning, called her Wednesday morning after the newspaper ran an article about it, and he was apologetic, she said. He told her the contractors would be coming by to get rid of the snow.

Yorker: City dumped snow on sidewalk, threatens fine

Buffington said to The York Dispatch in a phone message on Wednesday that Kopp wasn't going to be cited and shouldn't have received the warning notice.

It's in the city's ordinances that property owners have to clear a 36-inch-wide channel for people to walk on the sidewalks surrounding their properties. Normally, people have to have it cleared within 12 hours after the snow stops falling, but the city suspended that following the huge snowstorm Jan. 23, announcing that it wouldn't be enforced at all until this Monday, more than eight days after the snow stopped. Buffington said Tuesday that it doesn't matter if the snow is plowed up on the sidewalks — it's still up to the property owners to clear it.

He told the Dispatch on Wednesday that the contractors had contacted him and said they would go out there and clear things up.

On the rainy Wednesday evening, they did so, coming in with the heavy equipment.

"He just tore into that bit of snow," Kopp said. "They were really nice."

They removed the heaps of snow on the corner, and they salted the sidewalk and her walkway, she said. She said she offered up her own salt, but they'd told her there was no need — they were taking care of all of it.

"I'm happy with what they’ve done," she said.

Kopp, who had choked up with tears Tuesday evening, had relief in her voice Wednesday night.

"This is the first night when I can go to bed and not have to worry about it," she said.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com.