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Drive to change shovel law melts away

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The drive to quickly tighten rules requiring property owners in Evanston to shovel their walks melted away at City Council Monday night as aldermen agreed to postpone any change to current rules until their June 8 meeting.

The city code now only requires homeowners, landlords and tenants to remove snow from the public sidewalk in front of buildings after a storm dumps four or more inches of snow.

Earlier this winter some aldermen — voicing concerns about the perils of unshoveled walks to pedestrians — had pushed to change the ordinance to require shoveling after any snowfall.

But the proposed change got tangled up in concerns about the impact on people who travel for work or might be away on vacation and the size of the fines proposed for violations.

Questions were also raised about what it might cost if the city took on the sidewalk snow-shoveling task — a service that some other suburban communities perform.

Monday night city staff asked for the three-month delay to give them time to do more research on sidewalk shoveling policies elsewhere, and aldermen agreed to do that.

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