Ordinance Requires Residents To Maintain Snowy Sidewalks - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Ordinance Requires Residents To Maintain Snowy Sidewalks

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Several inches of snow fell in some areas of the Truckee Meadows, over the weekend.  That meant many residents spent part of Monday morning shoveling the snow off their sidewalks and driveways.

"I've been out here for two hours, shoveling snow," Conrad Theiss, Reno resident said. "I woke up, had a nice cup of coffee and came right outside."

Theiss did not have to work, Monday, but decided to get the snow out of the way early, to make the rest of the week a little easier.

"I'm a pastry chef and I get up early in the morning," Theiss said. "If it's ice-covered tomorrow morning, I'm not getting to work."

While Theiss' driveway and sidewalks are clear, that's not the case for many residents throughout Reno and Sparks.  Both cities have ordinances in place that require the residents to maintain their sidewalks, gutters and curbs.  Those who refuse to remove snow for long periods of time could receive a warning, possibly followed by a citation of $100.

"If one of two days has passed and it hasn't been cleared, at that time, we do have the ability to issue citations," Alex Woodley, Reno Code Enforcement Manager said. "Typically, 98 percent of the time, if we do make contact, people do clear their sidewalks."

The ordinances are in place to provide safety for pedestrians and prevent possible liability or litigation for the residents.

"Nobody wants to be sued by someone who slips and falls and hurts themselves in front of their property," Woodley said.

Some seniors or disabled people cannot remove the snow from their sidewalks without assistance, so the City of Reno encourages residents to help their neighbors, if possible.

"We always recommend people assist their neighbors because sometimes we'll get calls from individuals that want to complain on their neighbor and we find out they have a disability or they're a senior citizen," Woodley said.

Will Yawn spent more than three hours, shoveling snow from his property and around his neighborhood.

"I got up there and got snow shoveled out of the driveway and had so much fun doing mine, this morning, I went over and did three more neighbors' after mine," Yawn said.

Officials say it is a good idea to start clearing snow as soon as it begins to accumulate, saying it is easier to remove a little bit of snow more than once, rather than shoveling several inches at a time. 

When residents remove the snow, it is important that they put it in their yards and not in the street.

"We're trying to clear the streets so that you can get out of your driveway and get to work," Woodley said. "So, the last thing you want to do is make it more difficult for our plow drivers to clear the streets."

The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the snow will freeze and make it more difficult to remove.  That is one reason why Yawn decided to shovel snow, first thing in the morning.

"Usually, it's pretty easy shoveling," Yawn said. "This morning was pretty heavy, pretty wet. It was fun though. It was a good time."

There are volunteers for people who cannot remove snow, on their own.  Woodley says the Boy Scouts, social services, and some churches have people available to help.

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