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Pekin residents no longer subject to a snow removal requirement

A man and his dog contend with blowing snow in Brooklyn.
A man and his dog contend with blowing snow in Brooklyn.

Just ahead of an expected snowstorm, Pekin homeowners are no longer facing a city mandate to shovel their sidewalks.

In a 5-1 vote Monday, the city council rescinded a five-month old amendment to the snow removal ordinance that required residents to clear their sidewalks within 48 hours of snowfall.

“We voted to pass this (original) ordinance because we were under the impression that we needed to pass it in order to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. Since that time, we have learned it was not necessary to have this ordinance on the books in order to be ADA compliant,” said mayor pro tempore Becky Cloyd, who presided over the meeting after Mayor Mark Luft resigned earlier in the day.

Last May, Pekin entered into a consent decree to settle a class-action lawsuit claiming the city’s sidewalks violated the ADA. The initial snow ordinance amendment was passed with the belief it was necessary to comply with the settlement.

“I have heard from residents all across our community – as I'm sure the rest of the council has as well – who are opposed to this ordinance,” said Cloyd. “To me, there is no reason to keep this ordinance on the books if it isn't necessary for ADA compliance. Why put an undue burden on our residents?”

Council member Karen Hohimer cast the dissenting vote against rescinding the residential requirement.

“Nobody likes anybody having to tell them what to do with their own property. I’m the first one to say that I don't like anybody telling me what I have to do. But being a good neighbor is not that big of a deal,” said Hohimer.

Under the updated ordinance, commercial properties are still required to remove snow from sidewalks.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.