Recent changes to the City of Mankato’s streets and sidewalks ordinance have apparently caused some confusion among some residents.

It has been illegal to dump snow on city streets for a long time, but one of the changes adds city rights-of-way, the area between the sidewalk and street, to the ordinance.

Deputy City Manager Allison Zelms said they’re trying to make the city safer. “What we’re trying to do is avoid hazardous snow piles that would make it difficult for a driver to see another car or a pedestrian; usually at a street access or at an access for a parking lot,” she said.

And “hazard” is the key word.

“It’s not a hazard of someone is shoveling the sidewalk or clearing the driveway access and there is a foot of snow on the median,” she explained, “But it is a hazard – especially after that recent snowfall we had of between ten and 14 inches in some parts of town, when you have the ten and 15 foot snow pile.”

Zelms said that anyone who does place snow in the tree lawn area will have 24 hours after, “We make contact with the property owner and tell them to move the snow.

The ordinance change also reduces the amount of time people have to shovel the sidewalks around their home or business. Zelms said, “It’s going from two days to one day. And, really, what that’s about is making sure that it’s easy for pedestrians to navigate our sidewalks after a storm.” She added that there are a fair number of people in Mankato who use the sidewalks as their only means of getting around the city, and their safety is a top priority.

The ordinance changes go into effect on March 1st.