DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a battle brewing in a Denver neighborhood between 13 homeowners and the city.

The disagreement is over who is responsible for shoveling snow from a sidewalk.

In the 1970s the state put up an 8 foot fence along a section of East Hampden near South Tamarac Drive. The fence was meant to be a sound barrier, and it runs along the backyards of several homes on East Hampden Circle, cutting them off from the sidewalk on the other side.

Despite the fact that the homeowners can’t even see the sidewalk, the city still says the homeowners are responsible for clearing it after it snows.

“We have no direct access (to that sidewalk),” Daniel Ward said. “I’m the youngest person by far on this block and it’s going to be really really hard for those in their 60s and 70s to drive around and go shovel Hampden Avenue.”

Some homeowners in the neighborhood were fined $150 for failure to clear the sidewalk within 24 hours of a snowstorm. That happened during a the last big snowfall, not this month’s record storm.

Emily Dryden, 87, was able to avoid the fine and simply got a citation. She had her daughter and grandson shovel the snow. To get to the sidewalk they had to walk a half a mile.

See CBS4’s interview with Dryden in Howard Nathan’s report in the video clip below:

Some city officials have suggested the homeowners install gates in their fences so they can get to the sidewalk more easily, but Ward says that might be opening up their property to thieves. He said there have been a few home break-ins in the neighborhood lately.

Comments (9)
  1. Melinda says:

    This story doesn’t mention the city snowplows that push snow onto sidewalks only hours after the walks have been shoveled. The city says homeowners are responsible for that as well. So sell the land to the city for one penny on the dollar and create parking lots or Section 8 housing. Those people will cry racism and then the city will have to shovel. Problem solved.

  2. Tiffybean says:

    The city is abusing its power. I wonder if the city would be exposed to an inverse condemnation lawsuit. I’m guessing that maybe the city has an easement for the sound wall that splits private property. If the city blocked access to the sidewalk, and if the sidewalk is on private property, then the city is “taking” more than what the easement is supposed to take from the landowners. This story doesn’t give all the details but I think the homeowners may have something like this in their favor.

  3. Tricia says:

    The words Unconscionable and Edler Abuse come to mind

  4. blade says:

    Who put up the FENCE shouldn’t they be responsible for providing a gate and whose property is the fence on ? I believe I saw on the report a chain link fence on the back of the sound barrier that the city erected which is probably on ” CITY PROPERTY ” “NOT” on the home owners and since the city probably plowed the street and put their snow on the sidewalk it’s their snow to remove of of their sidewalk.


  5. happyday says:

    It says the state installed the fence so, if the owners cut a hole for a gate, are they damaging state property? This is just plain dumb of the city to demand this sidewalk be cleared by homeowners. On the other hand, how do they make an exception. The state can maintain the fence and sidewalk! They installed the fence and should be responsible for the clearing of the sidewalk. Simple solution.

  6. Mike Smith says:

    If the city can ticket a home owner for not clearing the sidewalk can we ticket the city for not plowing ALL of the streets? I mean after all the city owns the street.

  7. Laurie says:


  8. A. N. E. Mouse says:

    Pull the fences down and let the have EASY access to the sidewalk, they agreed to do their part when they wanted to block out the noise from the street.

  9. Bug says:

    Why is it that commercial property owners are NEVER held accountable for removing snow and ice from their sidewalks like individual residents are? A perfect example is the owner of the building housing the US Bank on the Northeast corner of Iliff Avenue and Parker Road. Every time there is a major snowstorm, the sidewalk is packed with two feet of snow and ice, and pedestrians have to climb over that mess just to catch the bus. That property owner NEVER cleans the sidewalk, and it is their responsibility to clean it. Why are these landlords given a pass? Or is that a stupid question?

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