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SNOWY WALKS? EITHER DIG OUT OR SHELL OUT

SHARE SNOWY WALKS? EITHER DIG OUT OR SHELL OUT

Nestled inside a warm, cozy house on a frigid winter's night, some Salt Lake-area residents might actually forget it's snowing outside.

Or at least pretend.But doing so might invite an unexpected phone call or knock at the door that could shock them back to reality in a hurry.

How does a $1,000 fine and six months in jail grab you?

That's what Murray, West Valley City and Midvale residents could face if they don't shovel their sidewalks when they're supposed to.

And how about waking up to find the snow didn't bury your car, it's actually gone - towed away by city workers trying to plow your street.

Nearly every Salt Lake County community has some form of snow-removal law on the books, and some carry hefty penalties. People who don't obey are likely to hear about it.

Of the county's 12 governments in the valley, only Bluffdale and West Jordan lack sidewalk-shoveling ordinances.

Some, like Salt Lake County, require residents to shovel their walks within an hour after snow has fallen - or by 8 a.m. the next morning if it's a late-night storm.

All 12 have laws against parking on public streets in the early morning hours when snow plows are at work. Salt Lake County plows won't venture down streets too cluttered with parked cars. Salt Lake City crews will move cars, perhaps even around the corner and out of sight, if they're in the way.

Salt Lake City is one of the worst places to be if you're trying to ignore the weather. Unlike most other local jurisdictions, the city doesn't give warnings to folks who don't shovel their walks.

"We used to give out warnings, but it didn't do any good," said Don Evett, manager of the city's Transportation Office. "Surprisingly enough, we don't get that many violations."

Last year, the city issued about 280 citations to sidewalk violators and has given out about 30 already this year. The fine, however, has been reduced from $50 to $25. Four years ago, it was $100, Evett said.

"One of the reasons we want to keep these sidewalks clean is for pedestrians, especially older people and little children who have to trample through all this snow," said Revona Stoner, Salt Lake City's parking administrator.

Out in Sandy, the penalties for not shoveling are stiff - a $250 fine and up to three months in jail - but enforcement is a little more relaxed.

"We try to avoid issuing citations, if at all possible," said zoning administrator Brok Armantrout. "Snow is not easy to move. We give them a warning and try to be polite about it.

"It's not something where we want to go out and be nasty. Not everybody has a snowblower."

West Jordan had a similar law but dropped it from the books.

"I think it's kind of difficult to enforce," said West Jordan city attorney Steve Homer. "Because West Jordan is a little more rural, it doesn't have sidewalks in a lot of places. And I think West Jordan's people don't walk with the same degree of intensity and usage that they would, say, in downtown Salt Lake City."

West Jordan residents who park on snow-covered streets, though, face a $25 fine. The same offense can set a Midvale resident back $5, but in Murray it can cost the violator $750.

Outside the city and county, though, few residents are actually prosecuted.

And in most places, snow-removal regulations can be ignored without consequence . . . at least until it snows.

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Additional Information

Snow laws

Most Salt Lake County communities require residents to shovel their sidewalks and remove vehicles from public streets when snow falls.

BLUFFDALE Sidewalks: no law

Streets: No parking between 2-6 a.m. when snow is falling.

Enforcement: $25 fine

DRAPER

Sidewalks: Must be shoveled within one hour after snow stops. If storm occurs after 5 p.m., walk must be cleared before 8 a.m. the next day.

Enforcement: If not removed after a warning, a county crew will complete task and charge will be added to property tax bill.

Streets: Overnight parking prohibited any night November through April. If cars are present on street, it may not be plowed.

Enforcement: Violators notified, given 24 hours to move vehicle or have it impounded.

MIDVALE

Sidewalks: Within a "rasonable" time after snow has stopped.

Enforcement: Up to $1,000 fine and six months in jail

Streets: No parking for more than 30 minutes between 1-6 a.m., Nov. 1- March 1.

Enforcement: $5 fine.

MURRAY

Sidewalks: Within 12 hours, or by 8 a.m. if snowfall occurs after 5 p.m.

Enforcement: Up to $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Streets: No parking within one hour after snow has started falling and until it ends, primary and secondary streets only.

Enforcement: $750 fine.

RIVERTON

Sidewalks: Within 24 hours of storm's end.

Enforcement: Between $25 and $299 fine.

Streets: No parking midnight-7 a.m., Nov. 1- April 1.

Enforcement: $25 fine.

SANDY CITY

Sidewalks: Within 24 hours of storm's end

Enforcement: $250 fine and up to 3 months in jail. Warnings issued first.

Streets: No parking between 1-5 a.m., Nov. 1- April 1.

Enforcement: $25 fine.

SALT LAKE CITY

Sidewalks: Within 24 hours of storm's end

Enforcement: $25 fine, only in response to complaints. No warnings. $25 more after 15 days.

Streets: No law.

Enforcement: cars moved when necessary.

SALT LAKE COUNTY

Sidewalks: Must be shoveled within one hour after snow stops. If storm occurs after 5 p.m., walk must be cleared before 8 a.m. the next day.

Enforcement: If not removed after warning, a county crew will complete task and charge will be added to property tax bill.

Streets: Overnight parking prohibited any night Nov. 1- April 1. If cars are present on street, it may not be plowed.

Enforcement: Violators notified, given 24 hours to move vehicle or have it impounded.

SOUTH JORDAN

Sidewalks: In a "reasonable time" after snow falls.

Enforcement: No penalty.

Streets: No parking for more than 30 minutes between 1-6 a.m. any night, Nov. 1- march 1.

Enforcement: $25 fine.

SOUTH SALT LAKE

Sidewalks: Same day, unless snow falls after 6 p.m., in which case it must be removed the next day.

Enforcement: $10 fine.

Streets: No parking for more than an hour between 2-6 a.m. on any night when snow removal from streets might be necessary.

Enforcement: $10 fine.

WEST JORDAN

Sidewalks: No law.

Streets: No parking when it might interfere with snow removal.

Enforcement: $25 fine.

WEST VALLEY CITY

Sidewalks: Within one hour, except when snow falls after 5 p.m., in which case it must be removed by 8 a.m.

Enforcement: Up to $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Streets: Whenever 4 or more inches accumulate, no parking for 24 hours after snow has stopped falling.

Enforcement: Up to $1,000 fine and six months in jail.