Boston issued $200k in snow tickets after Nemo

One contractor fined $3000 for dumping snow in school yard
Written by Shawn Musgrave

Read the Documents File a FOIA request

Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) has issued a staggering 2,414 citations to residents and businesses in the wake of Nemo, the historic nor’easter that dropped 25 inches of snow on Boston in early February. Ticketed violations include failure to shovel public sidewalks and improper removal of snow into public streets and walkways, which carry fines from $50 to $300.

One general contractor was cited for illegally dumping snow in the front yard of the Boston Latin School, and hit with a $3,000 fine.

All snow removal tickets issued by ISD from February 9 to February 27, 2013,
as released to MuckRock on March 5, 2013.

The city’s snow ordinance states that residents and commercial properties must remove snow and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps within three hours of snowfall or three hours after sunrise if the snow fell overnight. Snow must be cleared to a minimum path of 42 inches to allow passage of carriages and wheelchairs. The snow law also makes it a ticketable offense to shovel snow from a private property into the street or other public ways.

Data released to MuckRock reveal that more than 1,000 of the 2,414 tickets were issued in the four days after the blizzard, more than 90 percent of them citations for unshoveled sidewalks. Less than 20 percent of the tickets for shoveling snow into the street went to commercial properties, the bulk being issued to private residents.

Tickets by date and type.

According to the city’s snow fee schedule, fines vary based on size of the cited property as well as the amount of snow in question, and range from $50 to $200. Data indicates that issued fines ranged from $25 to $300, with 71 percent of tickets carrying a $50 fine, and another 24 percent a $200 fine.

Tickets by fine amount.

The lone $3,000 citation was issued on Feb 11 to a general contractor caught dumping snow into the front yard of the Boston Latin School in Mission Hill.

Just seven of the city’s 22 wards—Wards 17 through 22—received nearly half (45 percent) of the tickets in the three weeks of released data. Ward 18, which contains Hyde Park, Readville and parts of Roslindale and Mattapan, alone received 337 citations, 14 percent of all issued. The next highest were Ward 20 (West Roxbury and part of Roslindale) with 182 tickets and Ward 22 (Brighton) with 176 citations. Combined, Allston-Brighton (Wards 21 and 22) received 334 fines.

Tickets by ward.

Of the $216,775 in total issued fines, the same seven wards account for $82,950 in tickets, or 38 percent of all fines issued over the period. Properties in Ward 18 were cited for $26,425, 12 percent of the total for the city. Allston-Brighton properties combined were fined $27,950, accounting for another 13 percent of the total between the two wards.

Tickets by ward and amount.

In addition to data regarding snow removal citations, MuckRock has also filed requests for complaints of insufficient heat and inadequately shoveled sidewalks following the blizzard.

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Image source: Boston City Hall Citizens Connect app.