This week’s question from a reader deals with snow removal, specifically who shovels, where and when and what happens to a person if they fail to shovel?

So, here’s the skinny. According to City Ordinance, 744 (part), 2005), property “owners and/or occupants of property abutting a sidewalk shall, after a snowfall, remove snow, ice or slush from such sidewalks and maintain them free of the same. If any owner or occupant of the property fails to comply with this subsection, the city may, after a reasonable effort to contact the owner and/or occupant either in person or by telephone, have the snow ice or slush removed and charge the owner or occupant for the costs thereof, as provided in Section 8.20.070.”

In other words, it is the property owner’s responsibility to clear their walks and take care of any ice and snow. If said property owners or occupants fail to remove snow, the city has the right to (per section 8.20.070 of code) do one of the following actions (this is very generally summarized, so please refer to the ordinance for exact wording):

1. Provide the property owner with a notice of violation at which point the city will clear the obstruction if the property owner fails to do it him/herself.

2. The city has the right to sell the salvaged materials “of public nuisance” with proceeds deposited into the general account of the city, with those funds going to offset the cost of the abatement by the city, with any excess funds being sent to the owner of the property.

3. In the event that the property owner fails to remove the obstruction, the city can hire contractors to remove the obstruction, using salvage funds to reimburse the expenses incurred therein.

If private contractors are utilized, the city shall impose a 20 percent administrative fee on the offending property owner. It is also unlawful for any person to remove snow from private property and place it on a public street “in such quantity, or in such a manner, as to cause a hazard to travel, without adequate arrangements for the immediate removal thereof.”

So, essentially, don’t just toss snow out on the street. Find a way to pile it somewhere that doesn’t cause trouble for others.

You, as the property owner, also have the right to appeal or contest the above stated actions, which are stated in great detail in the ordinance, on the city’s website:

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