Not to quote Game of Thrones, but... Winter is coming to West Michigan.

And with winter comes piles and piles of the cold, fluffy, white stuff we're all familiar with.

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It's fun to make snowmen, and throw a few snowballs too, but eventually, we all have to deal with the one inarguably worst part of snow: clearing our drive ways and sidewalks.

There are ordinances in place to ensure that people can get around easily after any snowfall. While the city is in charge of our roadways, what are the rules when it comes to our sidewalks and private parking lots?

Who is required to clear the sidewalk?

The city of Grand Rapids requires the property owner to be responsible for any sidewalks on their property. Our city ordinance requires all property owners (business or residential) to completely clear all ice and snow.

man with a snow blowing machine working in winter day
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That includes the full width of the sidewalk down to the concrete, and it's required for all sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a snowfall.

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If you rent, you may want to talk to your landlord and see what your agreement is on snow removal, because it may state in your lease that it is your responsibility as a renter.

How long do I have to clear my sidewalk after it snows?

According to the city of Grand Rapids website, "

The City Ordinance gives citizens 24 hours to clear their sidewalks. We can't issue a citation if it's still snowing. If it's been less than 24 hours, the resident still has time to clear the sidewalk.

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So if it's still snowing, you're okay to wait until you get your final pile. But once that last flake falls and the clouds roll away, the clock starts on your 24-hour removal timetable.

Once it starts snowing again, the clock resets. So you may need to be patient with removal efforts if there is a multi-day on and off snow storm.

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