Premises Liability New York City 4 Hour Snow Removal Law

  1. While many New York City residents may believe they have 24 hours to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks and walkways, they most likely have only 4 hours to remove snow and ice. You can find an explanation and complete details of the New York City Department of Sanitation snow removal ordinance on the NYC.gov website.

    New York City Snow Removal Law

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    New York City's snow removal law varies depending upon when snowfall stops and tickets carry a $100-150 first time penalty up to a $250-350 fine for three time offenders.

    According to the Official Website of New York City at nyc.gov:
    • Between 9 PM and 6:59 AM, sidewalks must be cleared by 11 AM.
    • Between 5 PM and 8:59 PM, sidewalks must be cleared within 14 hours.
    • Between 7 AM and 4:59 PM, sidewalks must be cleared within 4 hours.
    Furthermore, the City of New York reminds homeowners that they "may receive a summons for failing to clear the sidewalks within these timeframes." Also be aware that sidewalk clearance is expected to be "at least four feet wide" where possible and that snow removal is also required from sidewalks next to bus stops and hydrants.

    If a snowfall occurs while you are at work, New York City's hour snow and ice removal law seems to put employees in a difficult situation. It appears that if the snow ceases at 10 or 11 a.m., you must either arrange for someone to clear the snow or to potentially leave work and do it yourself so as to comply the requirements of the ordinance. Otherwise you run a serious risk of the Department of Sanitations issuing you a hefty snow removal summons. New York City Department of Sanitation officers have already been reported to be issuing tickets for snow removal violations on the same day of snowfall.

    Confusion: 12 and 24 Hour Snow Removal Laws


    Confusion runs amok among New York City homeowners for a variety of reasons. Residents may not associate the City's clearance efforts on its own roads and properties with the alacrity implied in the ordinance. In addition, many neighboring jurisdictions allow for 12 or 24 hours for snow removal. Snow removal law for Valley Stream, which is adjacent to the borough of Queens in New York City, has a 24 hour requirement after receipt of notice from the superintendent. The snow removal law in nearby Rockville Centre, also in Nassau county, has a 24 hour clearance requirement. The Village of Lynbrook snow removal law requires a reasonable attempt to clear sidewalks with a 5 hour warning prior to being issued a summons. Many towns in New Jersey have a 12 to 24 hour snow removal ordinance.

    Fighting a Snow Removal Ticket / Summons


    If you're considering fighting an unwarranted snow removal ticket, be aware of the process. The adjudication of a summons issued by the New York City Department of Sanitation is handled by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). You can present a defense by mail, online, by phone or in person at various locations in New York City. Chances of success may be increased with an in-person hearing. While the loss of time at work may be a factor for consideration in comparison to the fine, additional violations for snow removal can extend to $350 per summons.

    Pre-Hearing Procedures exist but are limited and permit you one adjournment request. As per the OATH Rules and Forms section, §6-07 Pre-Hearing Discovery can provide you with a list of witnesses and documents which the City plans to present against you in court. Anything further will require physical presence by you, your representative or your attorney at a hearing to make such a request. This apparently also includes the right to cross examine the officer who issued the summons. (This was confirmed by an OATH representative by telephone.) On the back of the summons an notation reads that "...choosing to present your defense by mail, online or by phone rather than at a hearing in person, you are giving up your opportunity to question the officer who issued the Summons."
    Jurisdiction:
    • New York

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    Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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