600+ snow removal complaints made to city since Dec. 1

Residents or businesses must properly clear sidewalks in accordance with city ordinance. A failure to comply with the ordinance can result in a $100 citation — for starters.

A pedestrian makes his way down the Sixth Street hill north of Minnesota Avenue on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 in Sioux Falls.
Patrick Lalley / Forum News Service

SIOUX FALLS — Since Dec. 1, 610 snow removal complaints have been logged with the city of Sioux Falls, complaining that residents or businesses have failed to properly clear sidewalks in accordance with city ordinance.

A failure to comply with the ordinance can result in a $100 citation — for starters.

According to Neighborhood Connect , a public database provided by the city, the complaints come from multiple different parts of the city, from neighborhoods to the east and south of downtown, all the way out to 26th Street west of Interstate 29.

“When we get a complaint, what we do is we’ll start a case and go do an inspection,” said Dan Hein, a property maintenance inspector for the city.

Hein said the inspection doesn’t usually take place until the day after the complaint is received, especially in cases involving rental units, so landlords can have an opportunity to contact renters or their contractors.


“If it’s done we’ll close the case. If they fail the inspection, we’ll take a photo and send it to a [snow removal] contractor,” Hein said. “At that point, we issue a $100 citation.”

SnowRemovalHeatmap 011023.png
This heatmap shows where the City of Sioux Falls has received the most complaints regarding snow removal violations by residents and business owners between Dec. 1, 2022, and Jan. 10, 2023.
Contributed / City of Sioux Falls

Repeated violations within the same winter season can compound fines, with a second violation costing $200 and a third carrying a fine of $300 — excluding any fee a snow removal contractor may also charge.

Of the complaints fielded since Dec. 1, nearly 60% have been corrected by property owners before fines were issued. Thirty-nine of the complaints required the city to step in; more than 80 complaints found the property owner in compliance with ordinance. Nearly 70 complaints still remain active and are pending resolution.

The city’s snow removal hotline — 605-978-6900 — reminds callers that property owners have up to 48 hours from the end of a snowfall to remove snow from sidewalks.

Hein said that individuals who may not be able to remove snow from their sidewalks — whether due to disability or other reason — should consider hiring a contractor of their own to ensure their sidewalks remain clear.

If that’s not an option, Hein recommends reaching out to the city’s 211 Helpline Center, who often communicates with organizations such as churches to assist those unable to move the snow.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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