Should Waltham Require Property Owners to Shovel Sidewalks?

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The December storm left more than snow. It left unshoveled sidewalks that became ice and a potential danger for pedestrians.

However, there could be remedies for icy sidewalks – a city regulation to require residents to shovel the sidewalks outside of their home.

Currently, a Waltham city ordinance requires property owners on Main Street to shovel the sidewalks outside of their building within 24 hours of snowfall ceasing. That regulation applies to both sides of the street from Prospect Hill Road to Linden Street.

Newton is currently considering extending a two-year trial period that requires all property owners to clear snow from their sidewalk within 30 hours of the snow falling.

TELL US: Should Waltham adopt an ordinance to require property owners to shovel their sidewalks? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.  

Alice H January 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM
http://www.massrealestatelawblog.com/2010/07/28/massachusetts-property-owners-now-have-legal-responsibility-to-shovel-and-treat-snow-and-ice-on-property/ here is the state court ruling. all property owners in the state are required to clear their walks.
Jahmmy January 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM
A Waltham regulation with a time frame (say it has to be cleared within 18 or 24 hours) would strengthen the above ruling.
Ryan Grannan-Doll January 11, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Hi Alice, I'm not a lawyer, and don't play one on tv, but I think it means something different. The ruling, in my view, means property owners are LEGALLY liable, instead of legally required to clear their walks. That means they can be sued for not taking proper care, but it does not require them to clear it.
YiayiaOnline January 12, 2013 at 05:22 AM
I'm 83, it would be an extreme hardship for me to try to try and clear what the plows throw up for the entire front of my property. I have trouble finding someone reliable, whom I can afford, to even do my walk which I frequently have to do myself. My neighbors across the street are gone for the entire winter. What happened to the city sidewalk plows?. There used to be two of them. Which of the local towns require this?
Robert G. Logan January 12, 2013 at 09:34 PM
- Ryan, I agree. In fact, my reading of the court decision is that it only applies to walkways on private property. Holding a private property owner responsible for clearing snow from public property (public sidewalk) just because their property abuts the public way is another matter. YiayiaOnline brings up a couple of good points. First, is that the city plows snow from the streets into large piles on the corners. Should we then require private landowners to then clear those piles, and where are they going to put all that snow? The second point is the biggest reason why Waltham has never adopted such a requirement citywide; It would be a severe hardship for elderly and disabled homeowners. When it snows, Public Works does the best job they can with the personnel and equipment available. The first priority is to clear the roadways. Next are the sidewalks on the school routes and in high pedestrian traffic areas. If there is a particular sidewalk that you think should be added to the priority list, contact you ward councillor. Robert G. Logan Councillor Ward 9


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