The City of Mankato has made changes to its streets and sidewalks ordinance, intended to allow cell phone companies to attach signal boosters to supplement the massive cell towers most are familiar with.

Deputy City Manager Allison Zelms said, “Part of why we’re here today is because of legislation that was passed last session that requires cities to allow small cell wireless on city infrastructure.”

But city staff also cleaned up and made changes to other parts of the ordinance.

Zelms says one reduces the time people have after a snowfall to shovel the sidewalks around their homes or businesses from two days to one, in part because, “There are members of the public that do have mobility or other issues, and it makes it very difficult for them to traverse the city if that snow in not abated in a timely manner.”

Another change would make it illegal to pile snow in the public right-of-way…the area between the sidewalk and the street…or on public property. City Manager Pat Hentges said they field a lot of calls from people frustrated with the poor lines of sight at some intersections because large mounds of snow are piled near the curb. “It is a complaint that we regularly get at intersections, at sidewalk approaches, and driveway approaches,” he explained, and added, “Particularly on those high visibility streets.”

In the case of a large snowfall, Hentges said home and business owners that have put snow in the right-of-ways would have 24-hours to move it elsewhere.