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Fall Cleanup: Keeping curbs, gutters free of leaves and debris

Published on November 11, 2019

Fall Cleanup: Keeping curbs, gutters free of leaves and debris

Huntsville neighborhood streets and yards are adorned with colorful, fallen leaves. Picturesque – as long as they don’t clog public gutters.

As fall settles in, the City of Huntsville is reminding homeowners to keep “road-side facilities,” or in non-municipal terms, curbs, gutters, ditches and sidewalks, free of debris. This includes dirt, trash, debris, gravel, yard waste, grass clippings, grass and weeds.

Recently adopted City Ordinance 21-311 helps outline property owner responsibilities in neighborhood upkeep. Debris-free curbs and gutters have a big impact on safety and government spending. Clear pathways to the City’s storm water system via unobstructed gutters allow for effective storm water management, helping prevent flooding, keeping roadways safe and impeding the formation of potholes.

“This is a relatively new ordinance, and we want to ensure homeowners are aware of this responsibility,” Director of Public Works Chris McNeese said. “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.

McNeese says many residents already do their part to keep these areas clear. Others, he says, either don’t know the negative impact of obstructed gutters and curbs or don’t realize it’s their responsibility.

“In Huntsville, we help our neighbors,” McNeese said. “If you see a neighbor struggling to keep up with curb and gutter maintenance, ask how you can best assist.”


Clean Me - Obstructed residential curb
Clean Me: Example of curb needing a little TLC


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

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.

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

Here’s how it works. 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 pwstormwater@HuntsvilleAL.gov