Smoking, snow removal on Portland City Council agenda

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PORTLAND — Snow removal will be one of the agenda topics when the City Council meets Wednesday night.

The council will again pick up a proposed city code amendment, which would result in rules spelling out exceptions to the requirement for residential property owners to clear abutting sidewalks from snow and ice.

At its Aug. 6 meeting, the council deadlocked 4-4 in a vote to pass the amendment, requiring it to be tabled until this week’s meeting.

If passed, the amendment would direct the Department of Public Works to define exceptions to the snow removal rules by Oct. 1. The amendment would also provide an appeal process for property owners who are cited for violating the rules.

At the Aug. 6 meeting, councilors noted that Public Works uses discretion in enforcing the existing rules, and can extend the time allowed for clearing sidewalks when snowfall is unusually heavy or difficult to remove.

Councilor Edward Suslovic called the amendment “a solution in search of a problem.”

Also on Wednesday’s agenda are changes to a proposal that would ban smoking in city parks.

On July 19, the council’s Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee unanimously approved the proposal, which includes a list of parks and public places where smoking would be prohibited. Changes are now being proposed to eliminate places on the list where a ban would be redundant or impractical to enforce.

Portland already prohibits smoking near playgrounds, athletic fields and beaches, as well as in outdoor seating areas of restaurants before 10 p.m.

If the council approves the changes, the proposal would be returned to the committee for further review and consideration.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.