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West Reading residents seek change to snow removal ordinance

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 18 2014 04:30:34 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 18 2014 05:28:49 PM CST

The snow is stirring up quite the controversy in West Reading.

WEST READING, Pa. -

Old man winter has dumped dozens of inches of snow on Berks County this year and it is leaving residents a lot to cleanup.

"When you shovel it sometimes you cannot quite get it all up. Then it will melt and then you will have the ice," said Pat Ritz, of West Reading.

West Reading officials said people are not doing enough. According to a borough ordinance, sidewalks need to be clear of ice, snow, hail or sleet within 24 hours of a storm.

"It is a question of public safety. When you have a community that is pretty much a walking community like West Reading, it is important to maintain the safety of those traversing those sidewalks," said West Reading Mayor Valentin Rodriguez Jr.

That is why 332 people were fined between Jan. 21 and Jan. 24 for not having their sidewalks completely cleared.

"I think that was a little ridiculous because after all, I think most of them are making an effort," said Ritz.

Some residents also say having a bare sidewalk is difficult with the many snow events and extreme cold we have had this year.

"They use the same ridiculous standard which is bare concrete in 24 hours and it is not a possible standard when temperatures plummet over a four day period," said Terry Siggins, of West Reading.

That is why Siggins wants the borough council to adopt a provision, that several surrounding townships have, that will allow residents to put down an anti-skid material if the snow and ice cannot be removed.

Mayor Rodriguez said he looks forward to hearing public comment and suggestions at Tuesday night's meeting.

The mayor himself was even fined and has since paid that fine.

The mayor put a moratorium in place on Sun., Feb., 9th to cease the fines until the issue gets resolved.

The council meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the West Reading Fire Company on Playground Drive.