Finish shoveling the driveway? Don't forget the sidewalk

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - You probably have cleared your driveway by now. But what about your sidewalks?

Many cities have ordinances requiring people shovel their sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time. But few communities hand out tickets.

In Kansas City, residents have a "reasonable amount of time" to clear sidewalks. But Call For Action found no agency willing to enforcing the rule by ticketing.

Overland Park has a resolution "encouraging people" to maintain their sidewalks, but the city does not ticket. The situation is similar in Olathe and Independence. Lee's Summit does not have a sidewalk maintenance ordinance on the books.

Call For Action found only one city, Lawrence, ready and willing to ticket. Regarding snow, the city ordinance states, "removal must be done within 48 hours after the ice forms or snowfall ends." The fine is $20 per day.

Following this latest snowfall, Lawrence has extended the period to clear sidewalks before ticketing due to the blizzard conditions and now the cold. The deadline went from 8 am Friday morning to 5 pm Friday afternoon.

In January, Lawrence handed out 157 citations following two snowfalls.

But even if the city where you live doesn't ticket, you may still get hit with an unexpected cost if you don't clear your sidewalks.

Tom Dubbert of the Yard Barber of KC, a snow removal and landscaping company, reminds homeowners about liabilities if someone is hurt.

Dubbert says, “Typically there is some liability issues of course if someone slips and falls on your property. It could cause some problems for you and your insurance company."

Most cities hope people adopt a good neighbor approach and clear the sidewalks on their own without the city becoming heavy handed and enforcing the rules.

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