The Times West Virginian

March 4, 2014

Businesses, residents must keep sidewalks safe after storm

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Following the recent inclement weather, residents and businesses must remember to keep their sidewalks safe.

Ken Fletcher, building inspector for the City of Fairmont, explained that the city passed an ordinance on March 24, 1998, related to snow removal on sidewalks within the city limits so people can walk on them safely.

The ordinance reads that if snow falls overnight, businesses and residents have until 11 a.m. the next day to clean the sidewalks in front of and adjacent to their properties. In the case of winter weather during the day, they have three hours after the snow stops to take care of their sidewalks.

However, Fletcher said the City of Fairmont realizes that sometimes it takes people a while to clear the sidewalks when there is a lot of snowfall, and typically gives them a day or so to deal with those conditions. The goal is not to chase down everyone to give citations, and the city tries to keep from fining people.

“Most people are pretty good about clearing them,” he said. “It’s mostly people (who) constantly do not clean their sidewalks we would go after.”

Upon seeing problems, the city will contact businesses or residents to let them know of their responsibility.

“A lot of times we have to send people letters and remind them that they have to take care of their sidewalks,” Fletcher said. “It’s all about the safety of the public.”

However, individuals who continually refuse to clean their sidewalks could be fined, he said. In these cases, the city would summon the party to appear in court before the judge, who would deliver the ruling. The minimum fine is $100, and the maximum is $500.

In addition, businesses and residents must keep their sidewalks clear of other potential dangers, such as ice created by running water or even leaves and yard material in the fall. These responsibilities also fall under the city’s International Property Maintenance Code.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.