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Posted on: December 7, 2022

Please keep sidewalks clear of ice, snow this winter

Sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow

SPEARFISH, SD – Please keep sidewalks clear of ice and snow this winter for the safety of your neighbors and community.

Snow removal from the sidewalk is an important public safety concern, especially around high pedestrian areas such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and shopping areas. City ordinance and the International Property Maintenance Code require sidewalks to be kept free of ice, snow, and other obstructions. Sidewalks covered with snow may cause pedestrians to move to the roadway, causing danger to them and traffic hazards to drivers. 

Clearing your sidewalks is also the neighborly thing to do,” Spearfish Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said, describing that even a couple of inches of snow or any ice on the sidewalk may render it impassable to the young, elderly, or those with physical impairments. He reminded residents to clear the entire width of the sidewalk and accessibility ramps to the sidewalk to ensure that those using walkers, wheelchairs, or other mobility assisted devices can move down the sidewalk.

Property owners/tenants have 24-48 hours after snow has stopped falling to clear sidewalks abutting their property (which includes vacant/unoccupied lots in populated areas), and there are four methods of notification if a resident is found to be out of compliance: in person, by notice attached to your property in the form of a door hanger, by telephone call, or by mail notice, and these reminders generally resolve the issue. 

Code Enforcement Officer Jade Addison explained if the sidewalk is not cleared within 24 hours after notification, the City may contract with a commercial snow removal service to clear the sidewalks, with service charges billed to the property owner.

For residents in rentals, lease agreements should indicate who is responsible for the property maintenance, whether property owner or tenant, and Code Enforcement Officer Addison said that those contracts are between the renter and property owner; however, the property owner will be the person assessed a fee if the City has to hire a contractor, with any liens placed on the property the owner’s responsibility.

Code Enforcement Officer Addison also reminded residents with fire hydrant located on or next to their property to clear the snow at least 3-4 feet in all directions around the hydrant. 

Clearing snow from fire hydrants will save valuable time for the fire department if they have to respond to a fire in your neighborhood,” she said, adding that residents should also maintain access to mailboxes. 

Code Enforcement Officer Addison added that it may be necessary to clear the sidewalk more than once during a snow event, as weather factors may redistribute snow upon the sidewalk.

Winter affects us all, and we appreciate the community looking out for one another by keeping sidewalks clear for everyone to use this season,” she said. 

More information regarding snow removal is available at https://www.cityofspearfish.com/387/Snow-Removal, including the Snow Information and Advisory Guide, a brochure pertaining to the street snow removal guidelines, priority plowing routes, parking requirements/restrictions, etc.

Safety tips for shoveling snow include preparing physically with warm-ups for your muscles, pacing yourself, taking frequent breaks, and drinking plenty of fluids for hydration; using proper equipment, since a shovel fit to your size places less strain on your muscles, along with proper lifting techniques and not trying to lift too much at one time; shoveling often, since if a heavy snowfall is forecasted, it is easier to clear a couple inches a few times rather than trying to move several inches at one time; removing the snow as soon as possible after it snows since waiting leads to packed down snow and ice, which is much more difficult to remove; and removing the ice by using an ice scraper, de-icing salt, sand, and pet litter granules, which also reduce the chance of a slip or fall.

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