Amherst Town Board Votes to Set Up a Committee to Look into the Plowing of Sidewalks on Some Roads

January 4, 2011 Updated Jan 4, 2011 at 12:39 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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January 4, 2011 Updated Jan 4, 2011 at 12:39 AM EDT

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It's the same story every year...complaints pour into your local town about unshoveled sidewalks. Now, Amherst has decided to do something to help out home owners who have to clear snow from the toughest spots. Amherst has taken its first step toward developing a plan that would pay private contractors to plow the snow off of sidewalks along some of its major highways.

Walking in the street when the sidewalk is covered with snow can be extremely dangerous. Dozens of people are struck by cars and in the past 10 years several have died. By law, you must keep your sidewalk clear. But, for those living on major routes...it can be nearly impossible.

The proposal is the work of councilmember Guy Marlette, "What we want to do, is go out and bid to private contractors to come in on major arterials within the Town of Amherst to create these relief districts...where they come in and plow the sidewalks These major arteries really is were snow plows from the state, the county and in some cases even the town, are piling huge amounts of snow, slush, ice onto these sidewalks...making it really impossible to walk on them...and making it equally impossible for those residents to clear those sidewalks.

The new proposal would have the town hire private contractors to clear the sidewalks along roads like Sheridan Drive and Niagara Falls Boulevard. The cost would be passed on to the property owner. It's estimated that a typical homeowner would have to pay about 50 dollars more in their yearly tax bill. At the town board meeting Monday night...several residents were on hand to hear about the proposed plan. Most like the idea...but, some don't want to be the ones who pay. "They should simply do it and have us all Town of Amherst people who have the privilege of walking on these sidewalks...then maybe have a little added to our taxes," said Sandra Holland, a resident who owns property that borders Sheridan Drive.

The plowing would only happen after a sizable snow fall. Residents would still be responsible for clearing smaller amounts. T