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Louisville Metro Doesn't Usually Fine Property Owners For Snow-Covered, Slippery Sidewalks

Jacob Ryan

A week ago, a winter storm dumped several inches of snow across Louisville—and many sidewalks across the city are still covered in snow and ice.

Here's one possible reason: Louisville Metro doesn't actively fine people who don’t follow a local snow removal ordinance.

According to metro ordinance 97.113:
It shall be the duty of all persons and corporations owning or occupying property abutting a public street in Louisville Metro to remove within 24 hours thereafter such snow as may fall on the sidewalks in front of their property.  Where the property is unimproved or unoccupied this duty shall devolve on the owner or the agent for the property.  Where property is occupied by others than owners thereof, this duty shall devolve on the owner or the tenants and either may be proceeded against for the violation.
People who fail to comply with that ordinance, by law, are “subject to the following fines:  not less than $25, nor more than $100,” according to the same ordinance.

But Metro Public Works spokesman Harold Adams said city staff aren't “actively going out there looking for people who are not complying with the ordinance.”

“But if we get specific complaints about specific addresses, then we go in and we give that person a 24-hour notice to take care of it,” he said. “Then, if they don’t, we move on to the citation phase.”

The Louisville Metro crews clearing public roads also are responsible for handing out citations to people who don’t shovel walkways in front of their property, Adams said.

Adams said that’s a big reason why Public Works hasn't handed out, to his knowledge, any snow removal citations yet.

“When there is snow on the ground we are busy taking care of the roads,” he said. “That’s what our people’s energies are directed to.”

Also, many residents don’t know they're responsible for shoveling the sidewalk in front of their property, he said. But the snow-covered, slippery sidewalks has become a concern for more than a few people in Louisville.

Louisville Metro officials urge residents to clear their walks because it’s a public safety hazard. Adams said a lot of people are currently being forced to walk in the street, where they are in danger of being hit by cars.