Snow Removal on DeKalb Sidewalks

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The DeKalb Municipal Code states that property owners are responsible for snow and ice removal from public sidewalks. Upon two inches of snowfall, property owners should remove all snow and ice within 48 hours.

By clearing walkways, pedestrians, including children walking to school, have a safer path to travel. The City encourages residents to be a good neighbor by helping those who may not be capable of shoveling on their own.

You can be fined in the City of DeKalb for not shoveling your sidewalks, although they usually only issue compliance warnings. In general, city staff check sidewalks in commercial areas, near private health care facilities and along designated routes children use to get to school. Other areas are usually inspected only if the city receives a complaint.

Here is the actual wording of the DeKalb Municipal Code, Chapter 51:

51.21-5 PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBILITY FOR SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
FROM PUBLIC PROPERTY.

a) Definitions. The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and
enforcement of this Chapter 51.21-5:

“Pedestrian Safety Routes” are those sidewalks which:

  1. Serve as principal walkways for school children;
  2. Serve the city’s commercial zoning districts;
  3. Serve private health care facilities, defined as any establishment providing
    individual care or treatment for injuries, diseases or either temporary or
    permanent mental, emotional or physical disabilities.

b) Designation of Pedestrian Safety Routes. All sidewalks described in Schedule P of
this Chapter 51 shall be considered Pedestrian Safety Routes.

c) Snow and Ice Removal From Pedestrian Safety Routes. If the owner, agent or
occupant of a lot whose front yard or corner side yard abuts a public sidewalk
designated in Schedule P of this Chapter 51, fails to effectively remove ice and
snow from that sidewalk within forty-eight (48) hours of the onset of a snow event
exceeding two (2) inches of snow, sleet or freezing rain, that owner, agent or
occupant will be liable for fine penalties and the cost of the summary abatement of
snow and ice from the public sidewalk areas adjacent to his property. (1992-009)

  1. The Director of Building and Community Services or designee shall authorize
    the summary removal of the ice and snow through any available public
    agency or by contract with private persons and the cost of such abatement
    shall be charged against the real estate in question and shall be a lien upon
    such real estate. Alternatively, the City reserves the right to commence a civil
    action to recover the costs of such abatement.

d) Snow and Ice Removal from Public Sidewalks in General.

  1. All public sidewalk areas shall be kept free of ice and snow by the owner,
    agent or occupant of any lot that abuts sidewalk areas.
  2. It shall be unlawful for the owner, agent or occupant of any lot abutting a
    public sidewalk to fail to remove ice and snow from public sidewalk areas
    within forty-eight (48) hours of the onset of any snow event. (1992-009)
  3. The City Council may authorize the Director of Building and Community
    Services or designee to issue property maintenance fines to their property
    owners, agents or occupants, for the willful disregard of their responsibility to
    maintain public sidewalk areas free of ice and snow. A record of such fines,
    including the name of the property owners and property locations, shall be
    kept on file by the Director of Building and Community Services and included
    in the monthly code enforcement report to the City Council. The Director’s
    prerogative to issue fines for the failure to maintain sidewalks free of ice and
    snow, shall expire on April 1 of each calendar year. (1991-008)

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Are there really this many people in DeKalb who prefer to walk on sidewalks that are not cleared? I, personally, appreciate being able to walk around my neighborhood without sliding through the stuff people haven’t bothered to clear. I don’t think expecting homeowners to clear their sidewalks is unreasonable in any way. Can’t do it yourself? Hire someone. Can’t afford to hire someone? Make a friend. Seriously, I’m just blown away by the people complaining about basic home maintenance.

  2. I refuse to in my community cause our sidewalks are next to the street so the plows double the amount of snow on the sidewalks. Meaning knee deep or worse in conditions like the blizzard we recently had. I’m not breaking my back or my snowblower for that. Sorry. Unless the city wants to pay my hospital bills or my regular bills when I’m out of work due to injury trying to clear 3 feet of snow from my sidewalk. 😂

  3. Please people….First of all they would need to actually enforce this ordinance! Heck in the summer they don’t even enforce the mowing ordinance. What they will do is give the property owner a warning first– then as time goes by they will forget about that property and nothing will happen. This city doesn’t have the man power nor the funds to enforce it…. Find your money elsewhere City of Dekalb!

  4. if they start enforcing that THIS year then I’m filing a complaint. I walked to work for 6 years through snow and ice and slush because this has never been enforced. I always kept our sidewalk pristine. This year I don’t have the time to do it promptly and NOW they feel like enforcing it?!

  5. I live on an arterial main, also designated as a pedestrian blah blah, and the city buries the sidewalk, and parkway with an additional amount of salt laden snow, making removal impossible at times.
    I willingly and knowingly break the law by removing said slushy snow & ice right back into the street from whence it came.
    F’em.

    • I’ve had to physically pick up large chunks at the end of my driveway and throw them because they were too big and heavy to shovel. When I was younger it seemed like the plow only left less that 2 feet of extra crap but now it almost and sometimes does make it all the way up to the sidewalk. I’m getting too old to be shoveling the plowed snow, it’s hard enough to do the freshly fallen snow.

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