Snow Removal Ordinance

Winter WeatherProperty owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to their property in order to keep the community safe and walkable following major snowfalls. This includes residents, business owners, landlords / renters and any other owners of property in the City of East Lansing.

About the Ordinance
Ordinance 1326 provides a time frame for property owners to clear the snow/ice on the sidewalks adjacent to their property. Snow that accumulates before noon on a sidewalk must be cleared by midnight the same day and snow that accumulates after noon on a sidewalk must be cleared by midnight of the following day. For snow showers that occur on more than one consecutive day, snow must be cleared by the above stated times or within 48 hours after the first snowfall began, whichever is sooner. Ice should be cleared or an abrasive (salt, sand, etc.) should be applied within 12 hours of formation.

Fines & Costs
Each day that an owner fails to maintain a sidewalk in accordance with these standards constitutes a separate offense. In addition, the City may assess the property owner the cost of snow removal if the condition is not remedied within 24 hours of the abatement notice.

Currently, the 54B District Court assesses $85 in fines and costs. Please note, fines and costs are determined, in part, by legislative requirements. Contact the 54B District Court at (517) 351-4568 for updated information.

Rental Properties
Under the new ordinance, citations will be issued directly to the property owner. Tenants should still clarify with their property owner who is responsible for clearing snow and ice, as the property owner could still bill the tenant for the cost of the citation.

Other Important Considerations
  • The City of East Lansing is responsible for keeping roads and sidewalks safe. They prioritize plowing in the following order: 1) main traffic arteries (for emergency vehicle access), 2) state highways, 3) major streets and 4) residential streets. Typically, plowing only takes place in residential neighborhoods when snowfall accumulates more than three inches.
  • The City clears sidewalks in some higher-volume pedestrian traffic areas, including downtown and the sidewalks surrounding schools, however, property owners are still responsible for making sure the sidewalk adjacent to the property is maintained and clear enough for everyone to use, including those in wheelchairs.
  • Vacations or other planned absences do not absolve residents of snow/ice removal responsibility, so alternate arrangements should be made.
  • When City plows come through, snow may end up on the sidewalk that was just shoveled. Plows are angled to the right for plowing from the center of the street to the curb. For this reason, snow may be deposited in driveways. Snow placed in driveways or on sidewalks by City plows is the resident’s/owner’s responsibility to remove.
  • Learn more about DPW Operations.
Additional Information
For more information, community members can download the Snow Removal Ordinance (PDF).