It came a day too late to call it a white Christmas, but Boise woke up to a fresh coat of white on December 26. The sound of our apartment complex's maintenance crew shoveling the side walks woke us up bright and early and reminded us of something on social media a few years ago.

A few years ago, there was a nasty debate broke out in the Boise Bench Dwellers Facebook group when Amanda made a simple request of her neighbors.

After a winter storm rolled through Boise, she simply posted: 

To the able-bodied people: This winter runner does not appreciate all the not shoveled sidewalks... #shovelyosidewalks #endrant

We were a little disgusted by the responses she received:

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It was a little surprising to see how open these people were about purposely violating the law. That’s right, in our area you are legally required to clear snow and ice from sidewalks in front of your home or business. The Ada County Highway District has an ordinance that reads: 

“Every owner or occupant of any property zoned for commercial use or used for commercial purposes located in Ada County or any of its cities, shall, by 9 a.m. clear the sidewalks adjacent to such property from snow and keep such sidewalks free therefrom during the day so to allow the use of such sidewalks in a safe and convenient manner.” 

It goes on to tell those who aren’t business owners: 

“All other owners or occupants of real property shall keep the sidewalks adjacent to such property reasonably free of snow and ice.” 

Boise's Snow Removal Rules Are More Strict

While ACHD’s ordinance doesn’t explicitly list a punishment for violating their snow removal rules, Boise’s takes it a step further. Boise’s ordinance reads:

“Every owner of any building or vacant lot, and every person having the charge of any church, jail or public building in this City shall, during the time snow shall be on the ground, by nine o'clock (9:00) A.M. every morning, when necessary, clear the sidewalks and gutters in front of his property from snow, and keep conveniently free therefrom during the day, so as to allow citizens to use the sidewalks in an easy, safe and commodious manner. It shall be unlawful for any person to neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions of this section.” 

This section of Boise’s city code DOES lay out penalties. If you’re caught violating the snow removal rule, you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, misdemeanors in Boise are punishable by a fine up to $1,000, up to six months in the Ada County Jail or a combination of a fine and imprisonment. 

Do Meridian or Eagle Have Snow Removal Rules?

In Meridian snow or ice on a public sidewalk abutting or adjoining any privately owned premises is considered an “abatable nuisance.” If you get a notice that you have an abatable nuisance on your property you have five days to take care of it. If you don’t, you’re subject to criminal penalties like a misdemeanor. Eagle’s code reads similarly.

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