Property Owners in Mpls., St. Paul Face Fees For Not Shoveling Sidewalks

Updated: 01/31/2014 7:06 PM By: Beth McDonough

'Tis the season to shovel snow in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

All property owners, whether it's a home, business or apartment complex, must make sure their driveways and sidewalks clear.

If they haven't done that, they better soon or they could face bigger problems.

Big, as in hundreds of dollars big. While it's free for owners to shovel their own sidewalk, if you don't, you could get fined, plus have to pay for a city crew to clear it out.

We found a woman hobbling along a street in St. Paul, because she says its smoother and safer, than struggling through the snow-covered sidewalks nearby, "would you want to walk over this?"

We also came upon Linda Mainquist, who held onto a pole as she carefully climbed over a snow bump.  She's fallen there before, "I slipped, the cart went flying, groceries went flying."  Mainquist wasn't hurt, but she got mad enough to complain. 

Mainquist isn't alone. Since Nov. 1, St. Paul residents called in 2,790 complaints, nearly twice as many as the year before. 

The list is long in Minneapolis too. There have been 2,168, so far. 

Both cities require property owners to clear sidewalks down to the pavement within 24 hours of a snowfall. 

As we drove around the metro, we noticed most people did their part. 

However, if you don't you'll get a warning letter in the mail, "they'll get a chance to remedy it, but if they keep doing this, more than once a season, they'll get fined," according to Shaun Murphy with the City of Minneapolis.

A $102 fine, plus paying for a city crew to remove it. That could cost hundreds of dollars more. That's why Chris Rullie is shoveling his driveway, so he doesn't get ticketed again. 

Neighbors like Mainquist notice, "everybody wants to be mobile. Even in the winter."

City leaders tell KSTP the worst offenders are seniors, landlords and bank-owned properties.

MnDOT offers a reminder, it's also against state law to dump snow onto public streets. So where can you dump it?  In your yard, preferably pile it onto your yard.