With another weather system approaching Northern Arizona, city officials remind residents and business owners of snow-related city ordinances. Flagstaff received significant snow during last week, which was followed by complaints regarding snow-covered sidewalks.
Ordinance updates this year include an important change regarding the issuance of a Notice of Violation. The ordinance calls for violators to be issued a Notice once per winter season. This change is important for pedestrian safety as non-compliant sidewalk violations will be addressed sooner than in previous years. This change can mean a business or resident is notified of unclear sidewalks and has 24 hours to bring the sidewalk into compliance. If the violation is not corrected, abatement, with administrative costs, will be assessed on the property. Using the previous ordinance, code compliance staff noted some businesses were waiting until the notice was served at each violation, before clearing the sidewalks. This often delayed the clearing of walks; especially important on major pedestrian routes and school areas.
8-03-001-0004 REMOVAL OF SNOW AND/OR ICE:
A. Deposit on Public Thoroughfares: It shall be unlawful for any person within the corporate limits of the City to remove or cause to be removed any snow or ice from any private property within said City and place or deposit same upon a public street, avenue, alley or sidewalk within the City. For purposes of this section, “person” means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind, public or private.
B. Removal Required: Any person who owns, leases or occupies a building, lot or parcel of land bordering any public street, avenue, alley, square or other public place within the City shall at all times keep the sidewalks, curbs, and crosswalk ramps abutting upon or adjacent to the building, lot or parcel owned or occupied by them free and clear of any accumulation of snow, ice, or other obstruction. Any such person who fails to remove the snow, ice, or other obstruction from the sidewalks as promptly as reasonably possible, but in any event no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the accumulation of snow and ice, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. Such persons are jointly and severally liable for such responsibility, both criminally and administratively. The removal of snow or ice shall mean free of snow or ice for the entire constructed width and length of the sidewalk, except those with a width exceeding five (5) feet, which must be cleared to a width of at least five (5) feet. The accumulation may be from any source, including snow plows, traffic, precipitation, or drifting. (Amended Ord. No. 2008-31, 11/04/2008)
C. Comprehensive Planning and Code Administrator Authorized to Correct Hazardous Situation on Sidewalks: Should any person owning, leasing or occupying any building, lot or parcel within the City fail, neglect or refuse to remove from the sidewalk, curbs and crosswalk ramps adjacent thereto all accumulations of snow, ice, or other obstruction from the sidewalk, as required by subsection (B) of this section, including the tops of those curbs which indicate parking restrictions, and clear passage of sidewalk ADA ramps leading to crosswalks, then the Comprehensive Planning and Code Administrator (the “Code Administrator”) is authorized to remove such snow, ice or other obstruction. If the Code Administrator intends to charge any person responsible for keeping sidewalks, curbs, and ramps abutting the premises clear of snow or ice, then the Code Administrator will satisfy the requirements of this section. For purposes of this section, “Comprehensive Planning and Code Administrator” means the City of Flagstaff’s Comprehensive Planning and Code Administrator, or his or her designee. (Amended Ord. No. 2008-31, 11/04/2008)
D. If the Code Administrator finds that any portion of a sidewalk, curb or ramp has not been cleared of snow or ice as required by subsection (B) of this section, and that a hazardous condition exists, the Code Administrator is authorized to charge the costs of clearing the snow or ice to the person responsible under this section.
1. The Code Administrator will notify the person who owns leases or occupies any building, lot or parcel of land that such person must remove the snow or ice within the earlier of twenty-four (24) hours or 12:00 noon of the day following the notice.
2. Notice under this subsection is sufficient if hand delivered, emailed or telephoned to such person, or by posting on the premises. The Code Administrator shall provide at least one (1) notice per annual snow season (November 1st to April 1st) to persons responsible for keeping public sidewalks, curbs or ramps clear of snow or ice. After the first notice has been sent, the Code Administrator may cause the public sidewalks, curbs and ramps to be cleared after the time period set forth in subsection (B) of this section.
3. The notice shall state that the snow or ice shall be removed and that, if it is not removed within the earlier of twenty-four (24) hours or 12:00 noon of the day following the notice, the removal may be done at the behest of the City and all costs of the snow or ice removal may be imposed.
E. Charges for Snow or Ice Removal: If the person so notified fails to remove the snow or ice as required by the notice prescribed by subsection (D) of this section, then the Code Administrator may cause the snow or ice removal to meet the requirements of this section and charge the costs thereof, the costs of inspection, plus an additional fifty dollars ($50.00) for administrative costs, to the person so notified and the owner, jointly and severally.
F. Hearing Procedure: An owner or occupant from whom a bill for snow or ice removal costs is collectible, as set forth above, may request an administrative hearing with regard to the bill under the procedures which follow.
1. Within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the bill for the costs of removal of snow, ice or other obstruction from the City, as provided in subsection (D) of this section, the responsible party may request an administrative hearing regarding the written notice and the bill. The request for hearing must be in writing, state the objections to the notice and the bill, and be mailed or delivered to the Code Administrator.
2. Upon receipt of the hearing request, the Code Administrator shall forward a copy of the request to the Municipal Court Administrator for assignment to a Municipal Court judge who shall preside as an administrative hearing officer. The Municipal Court Administrator shall promptly notify the parties of the hearing date for the matter. Neither the City nor the responsible party is required to be represented by counsel, but may be if they so choose. No pre-trial discovery shall be permitted absent extraordinary circumstances. Immediately before the hearing, both parties shall produce for inspection any exhibits and written or recorded statements of any witness which are to be offered at the hearing. Failure to produce exhibits or statements may result in the hearing officer denying admission of the evidence not produced. The hearing officer may call and examine witnesses, including the responsible party. All testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. No person may be examined or cross-examined at a hearing except by the hearing officer, an attorney for a party, or the responsible party. The Arizona Rules of Evidence shall not apply in the hearing; any evidence offered may be admitted subject to a determination by the hearing officer that the offered evidence is relevant, material, and has some probative value to a fact at issue. If the party requesting the hearing fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter a finding for the City.
3. If the hearing officer determines, after hearing the parties and considering their evidence, that the City’s notice to the responsible party was accurate, delivered to the proper party or parties, and that the bill for the actual cost of removal was supported by the City’s evidence, then the hearing officer shall make a finding for the City on the bill. The responsible party may appeal the hearing officer’s decision to the City Council at a regularly scheduled meeting by filing a written request with the City Clerk for appeal within five (5) days after receipt of the hearing officer’s decision. The request for appeal shall specify the grounds for reversal of the hearing officer’s decision. The City Council may affirm, reverse, amend or remand the matter to the hearing officer if it finds that the hearing officer’s decision is not supported by substantial evidence, is arbitrary and capricious, or is not in conformance with the law.
G. If no hearing was requested on the notice or amount assessed for removal, or if an appeal was taken and the Council affirmed or modified the amount of the assessment, the assessment shall be recorded in the office of the Coconino County Recorder, including the date, amount of the assessment, and the legal description of the property against which the assessment is made. From the date of its recording, the assessment shall be a lien on the property and shall accrue interest at the rate prescribed by Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 44-1201. The City shall have the right to bring an action to enforce the lien in the Superior Court of Coconino County at any time after the recording of the assessment, but failure to enforce the lien by such action shall not affect its validity. The recorded assessment shall be prima facie evidence of the truth of all matters recited therein, and of the regularity of all proceedings prior to the recording of the assessment. A prior assessment for the purposes provided in this section shall not be a bar to subsequent assessment or assessments for such purposes, and any number of liens on the same property may be enforced in the same action.
H. Both Prosecution and Correction of Condition Authorized: Proceeding under subsections (C) through (G) of this section shall not prevent or bar the City from prosecuting under subsection (B) of this section, nor shall prosecution under subsection (B) of this section prevent or bar the City from proceeding under subsections (C) through (G) of this section.
(Ord. 2001-03, Amended, 02/06/2001; Ord. 2008-31, 11/04/2008; Ord. 2013-01, Amended, 02/05/2013)
Please contact Tom Boughner for detailed information:
928-213-2147 desk 928-607-3968 cell