Tom Snyder lives at the end of his street in a remote part of Durango rarely visited by the general public.
But that didn’t stop the city of Durango from issuing a “notice of violation” earlier this month for failure to shovel snow and ice from his sidewalk. Three of his neighbors on Sunnyside Drive also received notices.
“No one walks on the sidewalk,” Snyder said in an interview. “I’ve never seen anyone on it.”
The city issued 36 notices of violation for snow and ice removal between Dec. 16 and Jan. 20. It is the same number it issued all of last winter, according to an open-records request.
City code requires owners, tenants or occupants to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjoining their property. They’re asked to do so at the end of a storm, before people walk on it and pack it down, said City Code Enforcement Officer Steve Barkley.
If they fail to do so, the city will issue a notice of violation, giving the owner, occupant or tenant 24 hours to come into compliance. If they don’t comply, the city will hire a contractor to remove the snow and place a lien on the property covering the cost of removal, plus a $25 administrative fee, Barkley said.
“Some years we’ll get two or three we’ll end up having to do that,” he said, “and then other winters people actually get around to taking care of the sidewalks. So far this year, we haven’t had to hire any contractors.”
The policy is intended to provide safe passage for pedestrians, Barkley said. Enforcement is largely complaint-driven, meaning residents must notify the city of a violation before Code Enforcement springs into action.
“When we get complaints on sidewalks, it’s basically a top priority,” Barkley said.
Ice-covered sidewalks are especially dangerous to the eight or 10 residents at Sunshine Gardens West who make regular trips on foot or by wheelchair to north City Market, said Don Brockus, executive administrator of the assisted-living facility along 32nd Street. Residents have been unable to make the trip some days this winter because of the poor condition of sidewalks, he said.
“The population that we work with is particularly prone to pretty serious injuries from falls,” Brockus said. “Most neighbors are good, but all it takes is one, and our folks can’t make it through very well.”
In addition to issuing a notice, the city attempts to contact property owners or tenants to find out what’s going on, Barkley said. If residents have a valid reason for not shoveling, for example, because they are elderly or disabled, the city will work with them to find a solution. La Plata Youth Services and Durango-La Plata Senior Center have provided assistance in the past, Barkley said, but ultimately, it is up to property owners to clear their own sidewalks.
Residents are expected to clear as much snow and ice as possible.
“If it’s already been packed and it’s frozen and you can’t shovel it off, we ask you to place down sand, kitty litter or ice removal stuff so it’s not as slippery and pedestrians can walk without falling,” he said.
Of the 72 violations issued last winter and this winter, seven were issued to businesses for moving snow into a street or alley. Barkley said residents must deposit snow and ice on their own property; they can’t move it onto the street. “It’s free water for their lawn instead of throwing it out in the street,” he said.
Residents and business owners aren’t the only ones on the hook for back-breaking snow-removal work. The city must maintain miles of trails and sidewalks adjacent to city property. Barkley said he receives complaints now and then about a city sidewalk that isn’t maintained, in which case he’ll call the appropriate department to have it respond.
The city of Durango has hauled about 900 loads of snow so far this winter to Cundiff Park, where the runoff will be filtered before it enters the river, said Levi Lloyd, director of city operations.
Removing snow and ice from sidewalks is the neighborly thing to do, but so is contacting an offending neighbor before notifying the city, said Barbara Brazes, who was given a notice of violation last winter.
Brazes, who lives on North Glenisle Avenue, said she was late to work one day and didn’t have time to shovel when “Cranky Neighbor” reported her.
“It was a one-time thing of, ‘Oh shoot, I’ve got to get to work, I don’t have time to clear this,’ and Cranky Neighbor, I think, reported me,” Brazes said. “I didn’t feel resentful toward the city. They were responding to Cranky Neighbor. Cranky Neighbor isn’t here anymore, and I’m delighted.”
Sherra Bornheim, who received a notice earlier this month on Sunnyside Drive, said she understands the shoveling policy and why it’s necessary. But it seemed a little irrational for the city to give notices to everyone on her dead-end street while doing nothing about other sidewalks that are heavily traveled near schools.
“All of a sudden, after 28 years, they’re wanting us to shovel,” she said. “It’s never used. It’s a dead end.”
Snyder said he felt like the city was nitpicking, but if one person is required to shovel, it’s only fair that everyone on the block be required to shovel. In the future, he’ll shovel the sidewalk, he said.
“I shoveled it, but it was meaningless,” he said. “It is important, I think, for people to have a clear walkway with this amount of snow – if the sidewalk is used.”
|12/29/14||Alfredo Lozano||21565 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/29/14||Owners of Durango Tech Center lot 10||Tech Center Drive, Parcel 5665-301-01-074||21-36|
|12/29/14||Wells Fargo Bank||21600 block of U.S. Highway 160, Parcel 5665-301-00-173||21-36|
|12/29/14||Fletcher Pavin||21577 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/29/14||Highway 160 West LLC||21691 U.S. Highway 160; Marriott||21-36|
|12/29/14||Wapiti Rentals LLC||21625 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/29/14||Avih Amin||21719 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/29/14||160 W Property LLC||21703 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/29/14||Wedos LLC||230 Rockpoint Drive||21-36|
|12/29/14||Allen Harper||21259 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|12/30/14||David Carter and Mary Ellen||951 East Third Avenue||21-36|
|12/30/14||Sarah Summer||375 East Ninth Street||21-36|
|1/5/15||Jerald Krieger||1150 Main Avenue||21-36|
|1/5/15||Hamilton, EBJr Trustee Etals||862 Main Ave||21-36|
|1/5/15||Cruz-Yen LLC||990 Main Ave||21-36|
|1/5/15||Elisabeth Peterson||1120 Main Ave||21-36|
|1/5/15||Highway 160 West LLC; Marriott||21691 U.S. Highway 160||21-36|
|1/5/15||N/A||711 Ford Drive||21-36|
|1/6/15||Roy Burnard and Kathleen Kerrigan||2404 West Second Avenue||21-36|
|1/6/15||William and Michelle Winner||241 W. 24th Street||21-36|
|1/6/15||Action Property Management||200 West 24th Street||21-36|
|1/6/15||Venmed LLC||610 Valentine Drive||21-36|
|1/6/15||Jeffery Medearis||606 Valentine Drive||21-36|
|1/6/15||Jack Carmack||2312 Columbine Drive||21-36|
|1/6/15||Barbara Brazes||2325 No. A North Glenisle||21-36|
|1/6/15||Michael and Wendi Bogus||2250 West Third Avenue||21-36|
|1/6/15||Michael and Wendi Bogus||2270 West Third Avenue||21-36|
|1/6/15||N/A||2208 West Third Avenue||21-36|
|1/12/15||Strater Hotel||699 Main Ave||21-38|
|1/13/15||Cubbyhole||1405 Florida Road||21-38|
|1/22/15||N/A||2337 No. A North Glenisle||21-36|
|1/22/15||N/A||2333 No. B North Glenisle||21-36|
|1/22/15||N/A||2333 No. A North Glenisle||21-36|
|1/23/15||Durango Housing||633 Arroyo Drive||21-36|
|1/23/15||East Animas Village||700 Main Avenue||21-38|
|12/16/15||East Animas and Florida LLC||1485 Florida No. D||21-36|
|12/28/15||Waltrust Properties Inc.||2701 Main Avenue||21-36|
|12/29/15||McLean Family LTO||1150 Main Ave||21-36|
|12/29/15||James A Class||34 Folsom Place||21-36|
|12/29/15||Stephen Pavich/tenant/occupant||38 Folsom Place||21-36|
|12/29/15||Stephen Pavich/tenant/occupant||10 Folsom Place||21-36|
|12/29/15||Parcel 5665-201-06052||30 Folsom Place||21-36|
|12/29/15||Durango Joes||500 block of East Seventh Avenue||21-38|
|1/4/16||Cruz-Yen LLC||990 Main Ave||21-36|
|1/4/16||Jarvis Condo Owners Association||Parking lot 10th and Narrow Gauge||21-36|
|1/5/16||All unit owners Pioneer Station Condos||3750 North Main Avenue||21-36|
|1/5/16||DTP LLC||1136 Main parking onto Narrow Gauge||21-36|
|1/5/16||Stavroula LP||957 Main Avenue, Narrow Gauge parking lot||21-36|
|1/5/16||North Park Office Suites Owners Association||3710 North Main Avenue||21-36|
|1/5/16||Exxon||Florida Roadn and County Road 250||21-36|
|1/5/16||Jarvis Condo Owners Association||969 Main Avenue, Narrow Gauge parking lot||21-38|
|1/5/16||Chas Shafer and/or John Khademi||1570 East Second Avenue||21-38|
|1/5/16||Crossroads Durango Condo Owners Association||1030 East 10th Street, parking lot||21-38|
|1/8/16||Ben Nighthorse Campbell||510 East Second Avenue||21-36|
|1/13/16||Michael Shave||2012 Highland||21-36|
|1/13/16||William and Michelle Winner||77 Folsom||21-36|
|1/13/16||David Zook||2204 Crestview Drive||21-36|
|1/13/16||Elliot Kirchman||2020 Highland||21-36|
|1/13/16||Esther Reed||2224 Crestview||21-36|
|1/13/16||Eric and Stephanie Jones||2220 Crestview||21-36|
|1/13/16||David and Laurel Waller||2236 Crestview||21-36|
|1/13/16||Steven and Harriet Swenson||2232 Crestview||21-36|
|1/13/16||Keegan Feeney||604 Sunnyside Drive||21-36|
|1/13/16||Sherra Bornheim||620 Sunnyside Drive||21-36|
|1/13/16||Don Snyder||616 Sunnyside Drive||21-36|
|1/13/16||Ranae Bakel||615 Sunyside Drive||21-36|
|1/13/16||Heather Matney||615 Pleasant Drive||21-36|
|1/14/16||Owner/tenant||611 Ford Drive||21-36|
|1/20/16||Pizza Hut||3677 North Main Avenue||21-36|
|1/20/16||Hermesman Family Partnership LLLP||3310 North Main Avenue||21-36|
|1/20/16||Steve Rossi||3701 North Main Avenue||21-36|