Parma warns residents: Shovel your sidewalks or face a fine

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PARMA, Ohio- A Parma man received a letter from the city about his snow-covered sidewalks last month.

“It came in the mail to my house. No name, just my address,” said Jim Comodeca, who lives on Pleasant Valley Road. “The letter quotes several city ordinances that say I have to shovel the snow on my sidewalks.  I can't shovel my snow. I am 77 years and I just had open-heart surgery in August.”

Comedeca said the city told him that he could be fined up to $100. When he mentioned his health issues, the city told him to get students from a nearby school or church to help.

So, that’s what he did.

“You can't get a kid to shovel snow today. I know when I was a kid, that was gravy money to shovel snow for quarters and half dollars,” Comodeca said.

“This overall thing is about safety.  Safety of children walking to school and our pedestrians,” Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter said.

About 800 letters were sent to residences and businesses near schools and busy intersections, according to the mayor.

“The city ordinances have been in place well over 10 years.  For a number of years, we’ve sent out letters and they are based on resident complaints or ward council themselves see the need,” DeGeeter said.

He added the letters are handled case by case.

“We want to work with the residents. The last thing we want to do is have a senior hurt themselves or someone with a heart condition, bad back hurt themselves.  We’ll work with you on that,” DeGeeter said.

Despite this, Comodeca said he feels the letters are unfair.

“It's a money grab. For lack of a better word, Parma has got some fiscal problems. Trying to balance the budget. This is a source of revenue,” Comodeca said.

“That is not the case. That resident was told by building officials not to go out there and do that.  You will not be fined.  We will work with you,” DeGeeter said.