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Sidewalk Ordinances in Emmetsburg

August 17, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

Chapter 136 of the Emmetsburg Code of Ordinances addresses sidewalk regulations. The purpose of these regulations "is to enhance safe passage by citizens on sidewalks, to place the responsibility for the maintenance, repair, replacement, or reconstruction of sidewalks upon the abutting property owner and to minimize liability of the City."

For the purposes of this article, it is pertinent to define some key terms as they relate to sidewalk regulations: "owner means the person owning the fee title to property abutting [touching/ next to] any sidewalk and includes any contract purchaser for purposes of notification required herein. For all purposes, 'owner' includes the lessee, if any."

Chapter 136 states that it is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the sidewalks so that they are safe and hazard free for pedestrians. If the City finds that a sidewalk does not meet these requirements, the Council may send notice by mail of the violation and require that the owner repair, replace, or reconstruct sidewalks within a reasonable time. If the owner fails to meet the repair requirements, then the City will require the work to be done and assess the cost to later add to the owner's property tax.

Before beginning work on a sidewalk, a citizen of Emmetsburg is required to obtain a permit from the City. The citizen must also agree in writing that the construction will comply with City Regulations. A citizen is subject to fines should he fail to obtain a permit. Any sidewalks that are repaired or constructed must meet the following standards:

Portland cement is the only cement permitted to be used

Concrete must be placed directly on compact and well-drained soil. If the soil is not well drained, then a three-inch sub base of compact, clean, course gravel or sand shall be laid.

"The sidewalk bed shall be so graded that the constructed sidewalk will be at established grade"

Residential sidewalks shall be at least four feet wide and four inches thick. Each section is to be no more than four feet in length. Driveway areas must be no less than five inches thick.

Residential sidewalks must be located with the inner edge one foot from the property line

"Curb tops shall be on level with the centerline of the street which shall be the established grade"

All sidewalks shall slope inch per foot towards the curb.

Emmetsburg sidewalks shall be finished with a broom or wood float finish.

If a citizen begins construction on his sidewalk, it is the property owner's responsibility to erect a barricade or have conspicuous warning signs of sidewalk construction. "The party or parties using the street for any of the purposes specified in this chapter shall be liable for all injuries or damage to person or property arising from any wrongful act of negligence of the party of partiers, or their agents or employees of for any misuse of the privileges conferred by this chapter of or any failure to comply with provisions hereof."

As hard as it is to believe, winter is approaching. Chapter 136 addresses the removal of snow and ice accumulations. It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in a reasonable amount of time. Should the owner fail to comply with this regulation, the City may do so and include the fee in the owner's property tax.

The City also has requirements as to what is allowed and not allowed on a sidewalk. It is unlawful to make a fire of any kind on a sidewalk or to allow any fuel to remain on the sidewalk. It is unlawful for a person "to scatter or place any paste, paint, or writing on any sidewalk." A person may not throw or deposit glass, nails, glass bottles, tacks, wire, cans, trash, garbage, rubbish, litter, offal, or any other debris or any substance that could cause injury to any person, animal, or vehicle. A person may not sell any goods, objects, or merchandise that obstructs the sidewalk.



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