'No Snow Zone' in the Elmwood Village?

Idea would have residents/businesses share the cost of keeping sidewalks clear in winter.
Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 18:13:47-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The idea of a 'No Snow Zone' might seem unusual in a city that has a reputation for snow, but one Buffalo businessman believes it will improve safety and increase tourism to the Elmwood Village.

Joe Lettieri is now trying to get the Lafayette Avenue Block Club to implement the idea with hopes that other block clubs will follow.

Contractors would be hired to make sure the sidewalks are kept clear with everyone in the 'no snow zone' helping share the cost.

Lettieri said it would cost about $20/property for homes on Lafayette Avenue.

Buffalo Common Councilman Joel Feroleto said there is no legal reason to prevent the idea because the City of Buffalo does not clear sidewalks for private property.

Under city rules, property owners are required to clear sidewalks or face a $75 fine for a first offense ($150 for a second offense).

Lettieri is proposing the idea because he co-owns, with his wife, an upscale bed & breakfast on Lafayette Avenue called "Inn Buffalo off Elmwood." Link to Inn Buffalo Off Elmwood website

Visitors to the boutique hotel love it furnishings and location to the walk-able Elmwood Village, said Lettieri.

However, the hotel co-owner said they are not happy that so many properties fail to clear sidewalks during the winter.

"Yeah, it is a little disappointing," said Lettieri.

Ashley Smith, Executive Director of the Elmwood Village Association said she is "excited to see the initiative" and the association fully supports the idea.

However, Smith said it is a complicated problem because of the unpredictability of weather and the fact that some businesses already pay for snow clearing agreements.

In 2014, The Elmwood Village Association put out a request for proposals (RFP) to clear the sidewalks on Elmwood Avenue from Forest to North Street.

The total cost was calculated to be $14,000.

If the "No Snow Zone" idea takes off, Smith said it could be a "game changer" for the area during the winter - especially for older residents.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached video clip.