Snow shovelLikely none of us was truly prepared for last weekend’s nine inches of snow.  Hopefully you managed to find your snow shovel and deal with the white fluffy stuff that covered your driveway and sidewalk. (No? Check behind your lawnmower and under your garden hose.)  Snow removal is not just a matter of keeping up appearances on your block.  City ordinances also require diligent home upkeep, specifically clearing the sidewalk that runs in front of your property or to your door and mailbox.  Saint Paul Ordinance §113.02 states that “[t]he owner or occupant of any building or lot abutting a public sidewalk is responsible for and shall remove any accumulation of snow and/or ice from said public sidewalk within twenty-four (24) hours after the snow and/or ice has ceased to fall, gather or accumulate.”  (Notice that this language also applies to you if you’re the ”occupant” of the house, so talk to your landlord and agree on shovel-duty.)

If the offending snow is not removed in a timely matter, following ordinances allow the City to send notice to either the owner or occupant to get the job done.  If this measure fails, the City can  schedule the snow removal with a contractor, and then assess the owner or occupant for the cost (likely much more than a new shovel would cost).  Said owner or occupant could also be charged with a petty misdemeanor and assessed an additional fine.  Are you a St. Paul resident with a neighbor whose snow removal neglect is a hazard to you and others using the sidewalk? Contact the City to report the violation. If you prefer a more neighborly approach, see their printable door hanger to gently nudge your neighbor into action.

The above code is aimed at St. Paul residents, but other area municipalities have similar ordinances requiring snow removal:

  • Arden Hills – §602.03 Subd. 18 - ”Public Nuisance – All snow or ice not removed from public sidewalks within twenty-four hours after the snow or ice has been deposited, unless that portion of the public sidewalk has been exempted from this requirement by city council resolution.”
  • Falcon Heights – §22-47 – “A nuisance upon premises. No person shall knowingly cause, or create, or permit nuisances upon any premises as follows: (1) Snow and ice not removed from public sidewalks 24 hours after a storm has ended…”
  • Maplewood – §12-99 - “Removal of snow and ice. There shall be no snow and ice on parking lots, driveways, steps and walkways which may create a hazard.”
  • Roseville –§ 407.03 - “…On all properties with off-the-road, non-motorized pathways, except nontax exempt R-1 or R-2 properties, ice and snow shall be removed from the non-motorized pathway within 12 hours after snow and ice have ceased to be deposited thereon.”
  • White Bear Lake -  §901.030 – “SIDEWALKS; SNOW AND RUBBISH REMOVAL, NONCOMPLIANCE.  All persons owning or occupying any building in the City are required to remove dirt or rubbish from the sidewalks adjacent to such building.”

Typically, the respective municipal codes also contain language allowing the city to hire out the snow removal project should the owner/occupant lapse in this duty, and to bill accordingly for the service (likely at a much higher cost than a new show shovel).  And yet this inconvenience wouldn’t compare to the nightmare of a lawsuit brought by someone injured on your sidewalk as a result of unattended snow and ice.  Don’t see your town listed here?  You can call your city administration and ask about snow removal, but your time might be better spent just shoveling or hiring out the job.

 

 

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