Residents who leave sidewalks unshoveled could be issued a stiff fine

Ohio law leaves it to cities to enforce shoveling

PARMA, Ohio - Steve Stramowski has been dealing with arthritis in his hips and knees for years, but that didn't stop him from shoveling the sidewalk in front of his Parma home.

"I shoveled my sidewalk twice today," Stramowski said. "I really shouldn't be out he here, but I've got to get it done, it's the law."

Stramowski understands the sidewalk shoveling law in Parma, if he doesn't keep his sidewalk clear of snow and ice, he could be issued a fine of up to $200.

But not all Northeast Ohio cities require residents to keep their sidewalks shoveled. According to Ohio law, the burden is on cities to create sidewalk shoveling regualtions, and not all Ohio cities have decided issuing fines is the way to get residents to keep sidewalks safe.

North Royalton doesn't require residential sidewalk snow removal, instead city officials are hoping neighbors will help neighbors in keeping walkways clear.

"It's a tough law to enforce," said North Royalton Service Director Kris Kamps. "We hope residents will help each other and use common sense."

In Cleveland, residents or building owners aren't issued a fine for failing to shovel, however the city service department can shovel a sidewalk it believes to be a hazard, and send the property owner a bill for the job.

If you're not sure about the sidewalk shoveling policy in your city, contact your city hall and find out, or you could face a fine.

Here is the snow removal policy in Cleveland, provided to NewsChannel5 by the Cleveland Law Department:

507.13 Clearing Sidewalks of Snow and Debris

Every owner, occupant or person having charge of any tenement, building, lot or land fronting on any avenue, street, alley or other public highway of the City, shall clear the whole sidewalk in front of the tenement, building, lot or land, of snow and ice, before 9:00 a.m. of each day; provided, that if the sidewalk in front of the tenement, building, lot or land is not flagged or paved, a pathway thereon shall be cleared of ice and snow to the width of at least five feet.

If from any cause it is impossible to remove all the snow and ice which may adhere to such sidewalk, then every such owner, occupant or person having charge shall cover the snow or ice as shall so remain with such coating of ashes, sand or other substance as may be necessary to render travel safe and convenient.

Every owner, occupant or person having charge of any tenement, building, lot or land fronting upon any avenue, street, alley or other public highway of the City, shall keep the entire width of the sidewalk, from curb to lot line, free and clear of all earth, sand, brick, stone, rubbish, dead trees and dead branches of trees, or other material which from any cause whatever has accumulated or may accumulate upon the sidewalk above the established grade of the same, and shall also cut and remove from the sidewalk between the lot and curb line, all weeds, grass and vegetable growths that are more than four inches in height.

If the owner of any building, lot or land fails to comply with the provisions of this section, then the Director of Public Service may remove the snow, ice, earth, sand, brick, stone, rubbish, dead trees or dead branches of trees, or other material, weeds, grass and vegetable growths, from the sidewalk in front of the premises of such owner, and may charge the expense thereof to such owner.

If upon being notified, he fails to pay the City the amount of such expense, then the amount may be certified by the proper City officer to the County Auditor, and the same shall act as a lien upon the property of such owner, and shall be collected as provided for in the case of special assessments.

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