City Hall

By the Book: Dallas City Code Actually Has a Section Dealing With Ice, Snow Removal

Speaking of slickery downtown sidewalks and the city's response to 'em ...

A good Friend of Unfair Park directs our attention to Chapter 43, Sections 43-96 through Sections 43-98.2 of the Dallas City Code -- the sections dealing specifically with snow and ice. Turns out, the city has copious ordinances dealing with the removal of ice from sidewalks. Like, say, Ordinances Nos. 3314 and 19398, which, when combined, say that ...

(a) Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot abutting upon any public way or public place shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of the building or lot.

(b) Snow and ice which falls or accumulates before 4:00 p.m. during any day, except Sunday, shall be removed within three hours after the snow or ice has fallen or accumulated. Snow and ice which falls or accumulates on a Sunday or after 4:00 p.m. and during the night on any other day shall be removed before 10:00 a.m. the following day.

And, says the code, if the ice is too thick to remove, then it should be "strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or other similar suitable material." And if none of that gets done, there will be penalties -- though, of course, the ordinance isn't very specific on that front.

Our Friend suggested we call Joey Zapata, head of code compliance, and see if his department's actually enforcing the ordinances.

"I don't know offhand," Zapata tells Unfair Park. "Certainly, the weather has impacted our ability to respond, and mostly we respond on a complaint basis. We don't patrol for violations, but do find them when we're en route to investigate a complaint." Zapata says he'll check to see if there have been any complaints. Well, phoned-in complaints, anyway.

Update at 3:10 p.m.: Zapata called back. "I checked our system," he said, "and we have not had any iced-over sidewalk complaints in the last three days."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky