Property owners must clear snow off sidewalks

Nicole Stempak

City is not responsible

Driveways and sidewalks are private property. The city of Kent is not responsible for snow removal on private property, said Troy Loomis, code enforcement officer.

Property owners are ultimately responsible for snow removal, he said. This applies to rental properties unless designated in the tenant’s lease.

It’s the same as cutting the grass, Loomis said.

In the past, Dorothy Meyer on College Avenue cleaned her tenants’ driveway and sidewalks herself with a snow blower. This year, Meyer included in the lease that if she couldn’t clear them, then they were responsible.

The city can issue civil penalties for property owners who don’t clean sidewalks after the snowplow clears the street, he said.

“If renters have complaints, speak with the person you are leasing from,” Loomis said.

Shannon Kleinman, property manager of Hickory Mills, Whitehall Terrace and Summit Apartments, said they hire a private snowplow to clear the lots.

“Unfortunately, the snowplow has a list of other clients who need their lots cleared, too,” Kleinman said. “We’re always at the mercy of the snowplow.”

Kleinman said the snowplow drivers could not keep up with the snowfall last weekend. When that happens, she said the driver may do a cursory cleaning to make a path of tenants to get in and out. After the driver has gone around the area once, he does a more thorough cleaning.

Jan Juhas, manager of Sunrise Apartments, said they also contract a private snowplow. She said the driver plows the roadway and empty parking spaces, though it is difficult because of the cars, which are then blocked by the snow.

“It’s a no-win situation,” Juhas said and advised tenants to keep a shovel handy. “You’re going to have to dig out one way or another.”

Sunrise Apartments was not plowed until Monday. Juhas said she was out sick last weekend and would be contacting the snowplow driver about the delay so it wouldn’t happen again.

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reporter Nicole Stempak

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