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76-Year-Old South Boston Woman Fined $200 For Not Shoveling Sidewalk

BOSTON (CBS) - Fighting city hall over a ticket, but it has nothing to do with a car. The ticket is for not clearing snow from the sidewalk, and in this case it carries a $200 price tag.

The city of Boston has fined hundreds of residents and businesses over the last week. The message: We know shoveling is a pain, but it's also a safety issue.

Seventy-six year old Lorraine Walsh has lived in South Boston most of her life. She actually likes to shovel. But the freezing conditions after the last couple of storms made it tough.

Lorraine Walsh
Lorraine Walsh (WBZ-TV)

"Really windy if you remember. Fifty five miles an hour all the next day," she says.

She shoveled what she could and threw down ice melter, but then found an unwelcome surprise in her door- a ticket for $200. "I don't think it was fair because it was icy and it was difficult to get up," she says.

"The rules are, three hours after a snowstorm we're asking residents to shovel their sidewalks and businesses to shovel their sidewalks and if you can't shovel it, get somebody to shovel it for you," says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh when we asked him about the case.

CHECK: City Of Boston Snow Rules

The normal fine for a homeowner is $50 and $200 for a business. Lorraine's is the higher amount because her family runs a small insurance business out of the house.

Lorraine Walsh
Lorraine Walsh shovels the sidewalk outside of her South Boston home (WBZ-TV)

"I do intend to call and I will write an appeal letter. We've never had a ticket like this before so I don't know how strict they are with it, and whether I have a chance of appealing it or not, but I hope," Lorraine says.

Mayor Walsh, no relation to Lorraine Walsh, says he feels bad, but that safety has to come first. "The last thing we want to do is penalize people and write fines, but if we don't, we won't have people shoveling sidewalks and we'll have situations where people can't get passed on the sidewalk," he says.

"Give us a little flexibility. Consider a warning. We realize it was windy and there were ice problems so we're going to give you an extra day, that type of thing. That would be fair, wouldn't it?" asks Lorraine.

Mayor Walsh also suggests that Lorraine file an appeal with the city, and acknowledges that the city doesn't want to put an additional burden on a senior citizen.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kendall Buhl reports

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