Huntsville City ordinance to keep curbs and gutters free of debris

Data pix.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Autumn is here, leaves are falling, and the City of Huntsville says debris blocking drains is a problem.

Public Works Director Chris McNeese says the ordinance describes the need to have curbs and gutters clean.

The City of Huntsville is reminding homeowners to keep curbs, gutters, ditches, and sidewalks, free of debris. This includes dirt, trash, debris, gravel, yard waste, grass clippings, grass, and weeds.

The law applies to residential streets in 25 miles per hour speeding zones.

Bagged leaves and yard waste will be picked up during regular neighborhood trash pickup routes.

"Everybody wants to take pride in where they live, not only in their community but in their city," says McNeese. "And for the city, it maximizes our resources that we can best utilize the taxpayer money for the infrastructure."

The city of Huntsville says debris-free curbs have a big impact on safety and government spending. The clear pathways allow for effective stormwater management, helping prevent flooding, keeping roadways safe, and the prevention of pothole formation.

McNeese says if they allowed the debris to build up, the roads would face hardship. "You start seeing failures or deficiencies in your street," says McNeese. "You'll see pumping, rutting, those types of deficiencies, which are the precursor to potholes."

If your curb or gutter is obstructed, Public Works will notify you. If the debris is not removed within 15 days, Huntsville Police may issue a citation.

McNeese says most residents are already following the ordinance.

"The majority of our citizens are already doing what this ordinance is describing. They're taking pride in where they live, their front yards are being maintained, their driveways, their sidewalks, their curb and gutters."

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.

An existing City Ordinance (23-86) states that property owners are responsible for maintenance of sidewalks, but prior to the adoption of City Ordinance 21-311, no ordinance clarified whose responsibility it was to keep other roadside facilities clear of debris until July 11, 2019, when the Huntsville City Council adopted the new City law.

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.