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Reminder: Property Owners Responsible For Clearing Ice and Snow From Public Sidewalks

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Snow shoveling is one of the dreaded aspects of wintertime in the Twin Ports. This year has been particularly challenging with the Christmas ice storm that left a mess still visible on many sidewalks, driveways, and roads around the area. Being we’re expecting a brief warm-up, now is a good time to make efforts to make sure sidewalks along your property are as clean and safe as possible.

Both Duluth and Superior have ordinances in place that state that property owners are responsible for clearing public sidewalks along their property of snow and ice. While we haven’t seen much in the way of measurable snow recently, there still may be a pack of ice and packed snow from our ice storm less than a month ago. Being temperatures are well above freezing this week, now is the time to check to make sure sidewalks you are responsible for are as clean as can be.

What are the rules on sidewalk clearing?

In the case of both cities, they do not have a patrol team looking for uncleared sidewalks. Most enforcement is based on reports or complaints from the public that are trying to use the sidewalks. Below are the rules and potential penalties for Duluth and Superior.

Duluth

Duluth’s city ordinance (chapter 45, article VI) states that property owners with a public sidewalk abutting their property must remove snow and ice from the entire paved surface of the sidewalk along their property within 24-hours after a snowfall. Removing snow into a roadway is not permitted. With regard to ice, the ordinance does say that property owners are responsible to apply salt or chemical de-icer to remove ice that cannot be removed with a shovel in a timely fashion to ensure safety of the sidewalk.

Duluth does not list a specific fine for not being in compliance, rather an assessment for charges to clear the sidewalk will be made and assessed to the property owner.

The City of Duluth’s website has an easy-to-use frequently asked questions area dedicated to this subject, answering a number of questions including snow removal dos and don’ts, what should be done if you can’t clear the sidewalk, what do do if you’re on vacation, and more. You can see this FAQ and the full ordinance here.

Superior

Superior’s city ordinance (Section 28-9.1) states the owner, occupant or person in charge of each and every building in the City of Superior, fronting upon or adjoining any street, and the owner or person in charge of any unoccupied building or lot fronting as aforesaid, shall clean the sidewalk in front of or adjoining such building or unoccupied lot or building, as the case may be, of snow or ice to the width of such sidewalk by twelve o’clock, noon, of each day and cause the same to be kept clear from snow or ice. Superior lists a fine of $100 plus assessment of charges to clear the sidewalk to the property owner as a penalty for not being in compliance.

You can see a full breakdown of the City of Superior’s winter road maintenance policy, including sidewalk and driveway rules, by visiting this link.

 

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