Many in Piedmont may be breaking city laws without knowing it

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- If the sidewalk outside your home is covered with snow or ice, you may be breaking a city ordinance and be at risk of a fine.

In Lexington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point and Burlington, it is up to property owners to clear the sidewalk touching their property line of any snow or ice.

In the five cities, the penalty for non-compliance does include a fine in some cases. But city officials from all those cities said it is an ordinance they do not enforce.

Frank Carpenter, of Greensboro, said that lack of enforcement and his neighbors' lack of compliance with the law in the first place has caused some issues for him.

For six years, Carpenter has had kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment several times a week. He relies on the Greensboro Transportation Authority to pick him up from his home and take him to and from his appointments. With icy sidewalks all around, he said it is hard to even board the bus.

"Where I'm at we still have ice and it's freezing back up on the sidewalks," Carpenter said. "So what happened to me this week, we had to have two drivers. They escorted me on and off the bus."

Carpenter said if he were to fall on ice it would be devastating.

"Because when you're a dialysis patient, if you get hurt, you won't heal easy," he said.

GTA driver Craig Keel said he, too, experiences the added burdens that ice and snow cause for his passengers.

"It does make it kind of difficult," Keel said. "A lot of times we just try to double team. A lot of times we just try to tread lightly. That's the best we can do."

Carpenter said that, even if the cities are not enforcing the ordinance that property owners should clean their sidewalks, he wishes people would take it upon themselves to do so.

"It's for safety reasons," he said. "Not everyone would be able to walk on the sidewalks. Hire somebody or get somebody to clean it up."

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