Southington could force residents to shovel sidewalks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Southington could force residents near schools to shovel sidewalks


Some Southington homeowners who live near schools are upset over a plan that would make them responsible for clearing their sidewalks.

According to residents, whenever it snows, the town takes care of the walkways closest to its schools. This practice has been going on for years in the area of Frost Street.

The town of Southington used to do because children used these walks to get to school. Now, they're getting bused so the town wants to turn the maintenance back over to the owners.

"I can understand they're trying to save money," said Richard Ahearn of Southington, who has lived on the street for almost 35 years and has never shoveled his driveway. "I'm still not happy with it."

However, even though Frost Street is less than a half mile away from the Strong School, children in the neighborhood are bused to school.

Its one of 12 sidewalks the town and school district determined aren't needed for school access. And following this winter, the town decided to change the ordinance.

"If I purchased this property, which has a ton of sidewalks, and I was told I was responsible for the sidewalks, I would have to accept that," said Dan Welch of Southington. "But, if I was told that I'm not responsible, and then 10 or 20 years later, suddenly when I'm 10 or 20 years older the town comes to say you are now responsible, that would be grossly unfair."

Residents' concerns have caused the Southington Town Council to table the issue and revisit the proposal.

"I told them at the meeting, if I get responsibility of the sidewalk why can't I just take it out. They said that would make it an unsafe condition," Ahearn said. "So it's unsafe for the kids to walk up the street to go around the corner and its unsafe to take the sidewalk out, what do I do?"

The sidewalk proposal will go in front of the ordinance committee in the near future where it will receive a second look before going back to the town council for another public hearing.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.