SLC issues warnings about snowy sidewalks not shoveled after storm; repeat offenders face fines

Posted at 9:22 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 10:05:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- On Wednesday, Salt Lake City delivered about 60 warnings to property owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm, and those who don't comply could face a fine.

"A lot of it is a reminder, and a lot of it is education," said Carol Gent, one of five civil enforcement officers answering complaints on Wednesday regarding snowy sidewalks.

Gent first attempted to speak with the property owner, and if they aren't home, then a written warning is left in the door. That is followed up by an official warning in the mail.

The entire width of the sidewalk is expected to be cleared, right down to the bare pavement. Narrow paths with remnants of snow and ice are considered a violation.

"When I make contact with people, they are usually more than willing to get out and get it done right away," Gent said.

Gent takes pictures of each snowy sidewalk, just in case the issue goes unresolved.

If there is a second violation, the property owner will receive a $50 fine. That fine will continue to increase with each additional offense.

"Unfortunately some people don't see the importance without the fine," Gent said.

James Dowell is one of the property owners to receive a warning on Wednesday. He said it's not fair, and he did shovel his sidewalk--apparently just not good enough.

"I'm not very happy with a warning, but I'll get it cleaned off right now, just to make the pedestrians happy, not the city government," Dowell said.

Other residents say the city is greatly needed to enforce this law, otherwise some sidewalks would never be cleared.

"There are old folks living across the street here, and they go down this sidewalk constantly to go to the grocery store, and they can't even go to the sidewalk because they are going to fall and get hurt," said Dale Flinders, a resident who contacted the city about an unshoveled walkway.

The city says if it starts snowing again, just a quarter of an inch, it's considered a new storm and property owners are given another 24 hour cycle to clear their walks.