AURORA, Colo. — As snow melts away Thursday, some residents in south Aurora are gearing up like never before to chip away at ice that is expected to pile up on their sidewalks
On Feb. 7, several homeowners in the Inspiration community were issued warnings by the city to remove snow and ice that developed on sidewalks within 24 hours. Failing to do so would result in fees and additional violations that can lead to a lien being placed on the property and litigation.
"Ten homeowners down the street received the same notice," resident Tanya Gray said while showing Denver7 the warning notice she received.
Immediately after she and her neighbors received the notice, Gray said, "the whole side of the street was outside chipping ice with their ice chippers, with axes, with ice scrapers, snow shovels, you name it. Flame throwers."
While the physical labor is frustrating, residents say it's more straining to know their sidewalks could be significantly less icy with the construction of an appropriate drainage system.
The city engineered their properties so that snowmelt flows over the sidewalk and into the street gutter.
Aurora officials have acknowledged that their current drainage system can cause ice to build up on sidewalks.
In 2019, Aurora launched a pilot program that identified more than 150 impacted properties that could benefit from a chase drain, which would divert the snowmelt under the sidewalk, but the program was halted because of budget issues.
"The city is causing this problem of ice buildup and algae buildup without giving a homeowner a solution to deal with it," said resident Brian Bower. "I'm a handy guy. My thought was ... I'll get a concrete saw. I'll install [a chase drain] over a weekend, do it myself and they said I'm not allowed to do that."
Residents have shown Denver7 some of the injuries they've suffered after slipping and falling on ice. The injuries convinced homeowners like Mark Kinslow to act without permission.
"I don't want to get sued ... our liability for that is huge," Kinslow said. "We decided to put this [chase] drain in, which apparently we're not supposed to do, but the city is not offering us any assistance other than, 'Hey, go chip the ice off the driveway.'"
If neighbors don't clear the icy sidewalks, those warning notices may end up on their front door.