Sidewalk snow/ice removal is your responsibility according to Metro ordinance

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 22:52:44-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville officials issue a reminder that If your property is across from a public sidewalk, then the snow and ice are your responsibility. The expectation is that you create a safe walkway and if you don’t, you could be held liable for any injuries.

We saw several Nashville businesses with their doors closed on Tuesday, but we’ve learned they too are not exempt from city ordinance: 13.32.040.

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Snow removal crews work around the clock to clear ice before a second round of snowfall.

The ordinance reads, “it shall be the duty of every owner or proprietor of any dwelling house, business house or other house abutting on any public street, square or avenue within the fire district to remove or cause to be removed from the sidewalk immediately in front of his premises all snow and ice which may each day accumulate thereon.”

If you notice the walkway was damaged, we’re told that is not your responsibility. Instead, the city will take care of that cleanup. Otherwise, Metro Public Works tells us they’re not clearing sidewalks except for some Metro-owned and public facilities.

Many have turned to local pros like Brian Cutulle of Patriot Irrigation for help. Over the last two days, they’ve had more than 40 calls for the side-business they started more than 20 years ago. In all that time, Brian says this was by far the toughest winter mix.

“We ran to about 12 last night. Had about a 4-hour rest and we’ve been back at it ever since,” Cutulle said.

Cutulle typically works on contract with local businesses and says many other snow removal companies in Nashville do the same. The trouble is, there are only so many companies offering this service and so few people to do the work. When you go years on end without snow, Cutulle says some businesses don’t make it.

“Two years go by and you don’t do anything, but you have to sit on $20,000 worth of material just in case. Machines, the trucks, and all the plows, it’s a big expense,” Cutulle said.

Cutulle said he’s working to help as many businesses comply with the ordinance as possible, but he knows some just don’t have room in their budgets. With many still working to rebound after the pandemic, Cutulle said he understands why a business may want to do the work themselves.

If you do plan on clearing the ice yourself Cutulle said take your time and avoid injuries. It may take longer than expected, but these days it’s just part of the job.