New snow-removal rule for businesses takes effect soon

City passed requirement for commercial properties that starts Jan. 1

Posted 11/22/17

If snow buildup on sidewalks in Centennial gets you all riled up, you'll soon get some relief when a new ordinance requiring businesses to clear snow and ice from sidewalks near major streets goes …

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New snow-removal rule for businesses takes effect soon

City passed requirement for commercial properties that starts Jan. 1

Posted

If snow buildup on sidewalks in Centennial gets you all riled up, you'll soon get some relief when a new ordinance requiring businesses to clear snow and ice from sidewalks near major streets goes into effect.

The new law says it's the responsibility of the owner, occupant or tenant of a commercial property to remove snow or ice accumulation of 4 inches or more from sidewalks on or alongside the property within 24 hours after a snowfall. That applies to properties next to “arterial roadways” in Centennial, which make up a long list of the easily recognizable street names in the city. The requirement goes into effect Jan. 1.

The fine for failing to remove the snow is: $50 for the first offense, $250 for a second offense within 12 months of first offense, and $500 for third or further offenses within 12 months of the first offense.

The City of Centennial currently removes snow from many sidewalks along arterial streets where they're adjacent to residential neighborhoods, and it clears arterial streets themselves as well as some more minor streets, but it did not have in place a requirement for businesses to clear nearby sidewalks until now. The city has strongly encouraged residents and businesses to clear sidewalks themselves previously, said Allison Wittern, spokeswoman for the city.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, handles snow and ice control on I-25 and state highways 177, 83 and 88, which are South University Boulevard, South Parker Road and East Arapahoe Road between I-25 and Parker Road.

“To my knowledge, the city has not received any feedback from the business community,” Wittern said. No voices from the business community — or anyone else — spoke at the public hearing for the ordinance at the city council meeting Nov. 13. Council passed the bill unanimously.

The new requirement is an effort to promote public health, safety and convenience for the community, Wittern said.

“The city has received complaints (about snow on business-adjacent sidewalks) from time to time, particularly along bus routes and at bus stops,” Wittern said.

Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Commerce City, Greenwood Village, Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree and Parker also require commercial properties to clear sidewalks, as of 2012, Wittern said.

The South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce doesn't have a position on the ordinance and didn't address it when it was developed, but its president, Robert Golden, said it should be a positive rule.

“From my perspective, this is designed to provide safety to citizens, customers, shoppers (and so on), so that is always a good thing,” Golden said. “My guess is, a lot of businesses already do what the ordinance requires. I am doubtful that many businesses feel this is a bad idea, but I suppose time will tell.”

For purposes of the rule, “commercial property” is property in zoning districts including general commercial, activity center, urban center, planned unit development, business park or industrial, unless the main use on the property is residential.

For more information on what streets and sidewalks the city currently clears, see Centennial's Snow and Ice Control Plan at bit.ly/2zNrZdJ.

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