Neptune is keeping a financial penalty in place for property owners who do not shovel their sidewalks after a snow storm and fines will be especially heavy in areas near schools.
“Clearing sidewalks around schools is of the utmost importance because many of our schools have pedestrian traffic,” Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta said.
The Township Committee has been looking into revising its current snow removal ordinance to remove any penalties for not shoveling sidewalks after a snowstorm- unless you live near a local school.
Under the current ordinance, there is no direct fine if property owners do not clear their sidewalks within 12 hours after a snowfall ends, although the ordinance does urge them to do so. However, township workers have the option to shovel the sidewalk and place a lien on the property for the estimated cost.
Under a revised ordinance introduced this week, property owners must remove snow and ice from sidewalks within 12 hours of daylight after a storm. And while township workers will no longer remove snow or place a lien on properties, the property owner will now face a fine.
“This will not put the burden on township employees because we do not have the manpower. (Property owners) will face fines now, not liens,” Gadaleta said.
Under the proposed ordinance, which will have a public hearing on July 13, the penalty for not shoveling your sidewalk outside of a designated school zone can begin at $50 but can go as high as $500 for repeat offenders, or up to 90 days of community service.
There will be a $100 to $2,000 fine for not shoveling your sidewalks within 1,000 feet of school zones, or up to 90 days of community service.
Schools zone areas that require property owners to shovel after a storm are designated by signs in the school zone and also listed by school in the ordinance. Schools include public, private and parochial schools in Neptune. There are no schools in ocean Grove.
A map showing the designated areas by schools that require sidewalks to be shoveled is also available in the township clerk’s office.
“If you live near a school you will know you are within 1,000 because of the signage,” Gadaleta said.
Committeeman Randy Bishop cast the sole vote against introducing the ordinance. He previously said he sees little benefit in issuing fines outside of designated school zones.
“I just think we will suck up township resources trying to do this,” he said previously.
Ocean Grove resident Kennedy Buckley was against removing any penalties at all for not shoveling sidewalks after a storm, citing that most municipalities have some kind of a penalty.
“I think they have seen the light and common sense has prevailed,” he said.