OSWEGO, NY â€“ At its meeting Monday night, the Common Council voted 2-5 on an amendment to the Code of the City of Oswego, Chapter 249, Vacant an occupied property maintenance ordinance, Section 249-9, cleaning of public sidewalks.
It would have given relief to residents who live in areas of the Seventh Ward where the sidewalks abut the roadway and snowplows throw so much snow on the sidewalks, it is nearly impossible to keep them clean.
Several residents of the area spoke at the public session, explaining their difficulty in abiding by the city ordinance requiring residents to clean their sidewalks in a timely fashion.
Louise Murray said the city would move in the right direction by approving the amendment.
“In my opinion, the current code regarding cleaning the sidewalk needs to be revisited or re-worked,” she told the council.
Snow, ice and road salt from the road collects on the sidewalks and it is a considerable challenge to keep them clear, she pointed out.
Steve Poydock agreed. The streets there seem to get plowed more often than other areas, he said.
“I feel that going forward with the proposed change to the sidewalk ordinance will at least be a step in the right direction,” he said. “It will inspire further discussion and possible other areas might have their own specific difficulties with snow removal.”
Theresa Wachtus said it was a hardship for many residents in the area to keep up with snow being plowed onto the sidewalks. And it was a safety issue as well due to the proximity of Oswego Middle School, she added.
It is a big problem, according to resident Jack Fields. Many residents do clear their sidewalks every morning; but then, the snowplow goes by and throws it all back in, he told the councilors.
There are “many, many, many inequities” in the current ordinance, according to Poydock.
“There are places where sidewalks are on one side of the street. There are places where sidewalks are directly next to a building,” he pointed out. “There are things you should go back and change.”
Councilor Ron Kaplewicz urged his fellow councilors to vote in favor of the resolution to give his constituents some relief.
However, only Mike Myers (Second Ward) joined him in voting yes.
Opposing the amendment were Connie Cosemento (First Ward), Cathy Santos (Third Ward), Shawn Walker (Fourth Ward), Dan Donovan (Fifth Ward), and Bill Sharkey (Seventh Ward).
Cosemento said the council should “get into this ordinance and fix it, fix the whole ordinance.”
To be fair to everyone, the ordinance needs to be reviewed and re-worked, Santos agreed.
“We need to fix the whole problem (with this ordinance. I’m going to vote in the negative tonight, but I want to work to fix the problem up in the Seventh Ward and all of the city,” Sharkey said.