Shovel or Pay Up: Facing Fines for Snowy Sidewalks

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio-- A local community is cracking down on business owners and landlords who are slow clearing their sidewalks of snow. But refusing to pick up a shovel, could land them with a fine.

Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers said because Northeast Ohio has had so much snow this year, he is hearing more complaints from residents about sidewalks that are not shoveled.

By law, landlords and business owners and even residents are required to clear snow from in front of their properties and now the city is starting to enforce it.

Hours after Tuesday morning's heavy snowfall, anyone who drove, or walked, around Lakewood could see that many sidewalks were clear of snow, but some were not.

"It definitely makes it more difficult to walk and especially with there being so many pedestrians around, it's kinda how you get around here. It would be nice if they were shoveled," said Lakewood resident, Kelly Hannahan.

"If I have to, I'll go into the street, which is not my favorite thing to do," said Lakewood resident, David Goerz.

"We sent 1700 letters to landlords, saying you gotta shovel your walk," said Mayor Summers.

The mayor said Lakewood is one of only three in the state that does not offer school bus service, so most students have to walk to school.

Hundreds of landlords received reminder letters, but Summers said this month alone, 114 business owners received actual citations, ordering them to clear a path for pedestrians.

The mayor said, by law, business owners must have sidewalks cleared within 12 hours after the snow stops falling.

"We have two options: We can take them to court, which we don't want to do. We really want them to shovel their sidewalk; or we can go ahead and shovel it ourselves with city workers and give them a bill and that bill would be somewhere between 100 and 150 bucks," said the mayor.

Paul Beegan, who was not cited, owns Beegan Architectural Design, and the building it's located in on Madison Avenue.

"We do have people who do it professionally, but when they're not here, I'm out here shoveling it. It's part of owning a business in a building in Lakewood," Beegan said.

He keeps a snow shovel at the front door, but also said it can be hard to keep the sidewalk clear.

"We come out here and shovel. The city will come by and plow and send that snow right up off the street onto the sidewalk and as you can see here-- we've got a ton of snow and not much sidewalk left to work with," Beegan said.

"We've had good success with the citations; folks needed a little nudge," said Summers.

Read more on the latest winter storm and past storms HERE.


  • unknown

    They should do the same in Canton. I have seen many people walking in the streets that are too busy and could easily get hit. I’ve had to slow down and go around several. The walks are a mess. It doesn’t help when the snow plows throw it right back on the walks.

  • Jack Vosteen

    Einstein Bagels, on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, does not shovel or salt … Their sidewalk is a nightmare for pedestrians in the winter months … You are on your own …

    • lindz

      I agree with you, especially since once the sidewalk is shoveled and the CITY plow goes by they mess it up again.

  • Mark

    billing them for doing the job and fining them for not doing it are two separate issues. The “fine” should be what the fee is – so if it costs the city $150 to remove it, they pay $300.

    Don’t enable them.

  • Robert

    God put it there , He can take it away !!! If somebody falls on an un shoveled walk , It’s an acted of nature . If you fall on a shoveled walk , You can sue for personal injuries because it was slick after being shoveled …. Also , Why shovel when the snow plow will be back around to cover it up ! Governments are trying to apply to many rules !!! MIND YOUR BUSINESS !!!

  • Gar

    The really funny thing is that I live by the fire station on Madison and rarely do I see that sidewalk cleaned. But you will see the fire truck sitting in Marc’s parking lot and the firemen picking up groceries. Yes driving the fire truck to pick up groceries. really made me simmer seeing that. And across the street at the Knapp’s auto repair place, you’ll see 4 or 5 tow truck drivers standing around talking but for some reason are unable to pick up a shovel. Place seems to be open 24 hr a day and they cannot find the time to clear their sidewalk.. Hope they enforce this well but they need to look at their own city service departments not doing what is required of them.

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