City snow removal policy

Rochester property owners have always had an obligation to promptly remove snow from sidewalks.  This has never been an option.  Now we have a policy that will provide better enforcement and make sure that taxpayers are not responsible for clean up of others.  I am NOT willing to endanger the 40% of Minnesotans that do not drive (including my kids) because someone does not fulfill their responsibility.  Most areas will only be responded to on a complaint basis. 

If someone sends me a complaint I will try to contact the property owner and Public Works the same day.  Then I just hope the owner beats the contractor to the job.  If they don’t they will have a fine to pay.  My goal has never been to stick it to people, my goal is to have cleared sidewalks and I intend to get them assuming it ever snows again.

I want to convey to you the procedures the Public Works Department will follow in our enforcement of the existing sidewalk snow removal ordinances.  Here is a note from Director of Public Works, Richard Freese:

First, we will notify the media outlets and post on the City’s webpage the Snow Removal Ordinance requirements and the possible cost of non-compliance. 

Second, we will advise the Rochester Downtown Alliance to contact their members and remind them of the Snow Removal Ordinance requirements and the possible cost of non-compliance.

Third, we will notify Neighborhood Organizations and ask that they notify their members of the Snow Removal Ordinance requirements and the possible cost of non-compliance.

Central Business District:  Public Works staff will frequently monitor the snow removal efforts of downtown business owners within a 24-48 hour period after the snow event ends.  Public Works staff will also respond to complaints when received, but in the CBD we will be monitoring the sidewalk conditions regularly regardless of whether we get complaints or not.  Citations will be issued when the sidewalks have not been cleared of snow and ice. The City’s contractor will be dispatched to clear the snow and ice.  The cost of the Administrative Citation and the snow removal will be sent to the property owner.

Residential Neighborhoods:  Public Works staff will respond only to complaints in residential neighborhoods.  We will not be regularly monitoring sidewalk conditions in residential neighborhoods.  However, when we do respond to a complaint we will inspect all sidewalks on both sides of the street within the same block of the complaint address.  Citations will be issued if any sidewalk within that block has not been cleared of snow and ice. The City’s contractor will be dispatched to clear the snow and ice.  The cost of the Administrative Citation and the snow removal will be sent to the property owner.

Commercial / Industrial Business Areas:  Public Works staff will respond to complaints in these areas.  We will not be regularly monitoring sidewalk conditions.  However, when we do respond to a complaint we will inspect all sidewalks on both sides of the street within the same block of the complaint address.  Citations will be issued if any sidewalk within that block has not been cleared of snow and ice. The City’s contractor will be dispatched to clear the snow and ice.  The cost of the Administrative Citation and the snow removal will be sent to the property owner.

NOTE:  We will track the number of Administrative Citations issued to each property.  If particular property receives three (3) Administrative Citations within a year, the Public Works staff will identify that property as a high priority and will monitor that property more frequently for compliance and not necessarily rely on complaints before making an inspection for compliance or issuing an Administrative Citation.

Without objection from the City Council, the Public Works staff will proceed to enforce the existing sidewalk snow removal ordinances as outlined herein.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Richard W. Freese, P.E.

Director Public Works / City Engineer

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