New ordinance requires homeowners to keep gutters, ditches, sidewalks clean

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Autumn leaves are falling, but the City of Huntsville is reminding residents that they need to be cleaned up.

An ordinance passed in July requires property owners to keep curbs, gutters, ditches, and sidewalks free of debris. This includes dirt, trash, debris, gravel, yard waste, grass clippings, grass and weeds.

City officials says it’s part of neighborhood upkeep and to prevent flooding, keep roads safe, and reduce the formation of potholes. Bagged leaves and yard waste will be picked up during regular neighborhood trash pickup.

What does the ordinance say?
According to Ordinance 21-311, “The owner or person otherwise in control or possession of private premises shall maintain private drainage facilities located on the premises so that such drainage facilities will not become a hazard to or interfere with the use, function, or physical integrity of nearby public streets or public drainage improvements.”

Director of Public Works Chris McNeese says, “This is a relatively new ordinance, and we want to ensure homeowners are aware of this responsibility. If everyone does their part to be a good neighbor, we can minimize the maintenance needed on Huntsville roadways and keep Huntsville beautiful at the same time.”

How is the ordinance enforced?
If the curb and gutter abutting a residential property is obstructed, Public Works will notify the occupant of the home and ask that the debris be removed within a 15-day time period. If the debris is not removed, the Huntsville Police Department may issue a citation. 

Residents who are notified of obstructed curbs or gutters and cannot clear the debris due to physical or financial hardship may request a waiver by contacting public works at (256) 883-3609 or

The law applies to residential streets in 25 mph speeding zones.

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