Property owners will need to remove snow and ice as usual from public sidewalks and lots on their property after each snow and/or ice event, but now could possibly face a new fine. 

The City of Madison new ordinance amended the existing snow and ice removal ordinance. The new change limits the use of salt or other melting agents to the amount necessary to treat the ice so it can be removed. The new change also allows the City to educate and enforce salt standards to property owners who use too much salt or melting agents. 

Reason for Change
The goal of the ordinance change is twofold. It will keep sidewalks safe for pedestrians and also help the community cut down on salt use, which helps our area waterways.
Excess use of salt and chemical melting agents not only creates its own hazard or impediment on the sidewalk, particularly for some people with disabilities, but the excess chemicals will eventually migrate into the City’s storm and surface waters. When salt moves into local waters, it contributes to making the City’s lakes and groundwater more salty, which is a public health concern.

Rules for Property Owners

  • Excess salt and chemical melting agents may not accumulate on the sidewalk and must be removed following ice or snow melt.     
  • The owner of each lot or part of lot shall remove all snow and ice upon the sidewalk abutting the premises owned no later than noon of the day after the snow or ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, regardless of the source of accumulation.
  • The owner of property abutting sidewalks on two intersecting streets shall remove all snow and ice from the sidewalks of both streets, including that portion of the sidewalks bordering the crosswalk, including the curb ramp, if any, regardless of the source of the snow accumulation.
  • First offense: $124 (this number includes fine and court costs)
  • Second offense: $187 (this number includes fine and court costs)

The City’s Building Inspection Division will be responsible for enforcing the new ordinance. The City will also work to help educate first, then fine when necessary. 

Full Ordinance
Report a Problem: Snow Removal Issue

*This release has been updated to include a clarification sharing that the numbers in this release includes fine and court costs. For the full breakdown, please view the Building Inspection’s webpage.  It should also be noted the City will help the community with salt use by educating first, then fining when necessary.