Meet Snow Removal Deadlines to Avoid Fines
To avoid fines for snow and ice on your sidewalk this winter, be sure to follow a smart snow removal policy. Section 16-123 of the city’s Administrative Code requires you to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of your building. Fines range from $100 to $150 for the first violation, up to $350 for a third violation within 12 months of the first. Here’s what to do after every snowfall.
When you must shovel depends on when the snow stops falling.
Snow stops anytime from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. You must clear your sidewalk within four hours after the snow stops falling.
Snow stops anytime from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. You must clear your sidewalk within 14 hours after the snow stops falling.
Snow stops anytime after 9 p.m. but before 7 a.m. You don’t have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to shovel. The DOS gives you until 11 a.m. to get the sidewalks cleared.
It’s important to be watchful for when snowstorms end. Sometimes being able to prove when a snowstorm ends can help you beat a violation for failing to clear snow from a sidewalk. In one case, the DOB issued a violation notice to the landlord’s contractor for failing to clear frozen snow from the sidewalk in front of a building. The violation was issued at 12:05 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2015. The owner showed that a snowstorm began on Feb. 1, 2015, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2015. The administrative judge found that this didn’t matter and fined the owner. The contractor appealed and won. The rules require owners to clear snow and ice conditions within four hours after snow ceases to fall. Since the storm was ongoing when the violation was issued, it was revoked [Tuel Enterprises, Inc.: ECB App. No. 1500412, June 2015].
Also, if you can’t meet the removal deadlines for some reason, be sure to make arrangements for someone else to shovel snow. In one case, a judge found that Sabbath observance was not a defense to a violation. The DOS issued a violation notice to the owner for failing to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of his building. The violation was issued on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, at 7:30 a.m. A snowstorm had ended at midnight on Friday. The owner argued that he observed a Saturday Sabbath and therefore couldn’t remove the snow that day. The administrative law judge ruled against the owner and fined him $100. The owner appealed and lost [Yadgarov: ECB App. No. 1500277, April 2015].
Don’t Ignore Hard-to-Remove Ice
If the snow can’t be removed due to packed ice or other conditions, you are allowed to place down cat litter, snow melt, or a similar product for traction. Section 16-123 of the Administrative Code provides that if the snow and ice is “frozen so hard that it cannot be removed without injury to the pavement,” the responsible entity may within the above time frame use sand, sawdust, or “similar suitable material” to alleviate the condition. As soon as the weather permits, you must “thoroughly clean such sidewalks.”
Don’t Put Snow into Street After Plows Come Through
Be careful about where you put the shoveled snow. Snow is not permitted to be shoveled into the streets at any time. In addition, do not place snow on top of a fire hydrant. Those hydrants do need to be kept clear at all times. Once the street has been cleared, it’s best to shovel the snow against your building or to the sidewalk curb. If you own a corner building, shovel the snow against the building so it doesn’t block the corner walkway.