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Part 1: Q&A -- Curb and gutter in Layton City

Article Published 03/19/2014

Most residents and business owners probably take their curb and gutter for granted.
But, these are often overlooked and neglected items.
A primary reason why western European towns are so clean and pristine is because each homeowner cleans in front of their home to the middle of the street.
There’s also a reason why real estate professionals always talk about “curb appeal” -- how a home looks from the street - and a clean curb and gutter definitely enhances the appearance and tells the world that this property is taken care of.  
Furthermore, everything that goes in the gutter ends up in the creeks, streams, park detention basins and eventually the Great Salt Lake. 
Sweeping up the debris and dirt is also a money saver -- the less that dirt is washed into the storm water system, the less those pipes need to be cleaned out, the less men and equipment are needed, thus a savings to the citizens.

Here’s a question and answer session on these important features:

Q: Whose responsibility is it to take care of the curb and gutter in front of their property?
A: According to Layton City’s code, all owners or agents of owners with property abutting and fronting upon any plaza, street, or alley within the corporate limits of the City are required to keep the public curb, gutter, and sidewalks immediately abutting their property in good order and repair. Early spring and late fall are important times to sweep out a gutter, however, making it part of your weekly yard maintenance is ideal. It keeps the task lighter and the appearance great!
Q: Who actually owns the curb and gutter?
A: Just like the sidewalk, the underlying ground is owned by the City. However, the law imposes a duty on the abutting property owner for the maintenance.  The law reads: “Each such owner shall be liable to the City for all losses to the City or recoveries from the City for damages to person or property of others caused by his failure or that of his agents to repair and keep in good order and reasonably safe condition all such curb and gutter.”
Q: Why should I clean out the curb and gutter in front of my property, shouldn’t the city’s street sweeper do that?
A: The City only has 2 street sweepers and has over 280 miles (248.93 miles of “public” road) of City roads. Additionally, to help keep the City clean, we also sweep all of the State roads in the City.  Because of that, street sweepers usually only come along a particular street about once a year. They also can’t clean up heavy debris, or weeds. A shovel and broom can be used to quickly clean out a gutter.
Q: What if a neighbor’s curb and gutter is stacked full of debris and unsightly?
A: Layton City actually has a special complaint form available on-line at: Better yet, be a good neighbor and help them out with it!  If they are upstream from you, the debris will eventually be in front of your home, and if they are downstream, the debris will keep your gutter from flowing freely. And the better their home looks, the better your home and neighborhood look!
Q: If my gutter isn’t cleaned out properly, what’s the worst that can happen?
A: Remember that term real estate professionals use: “curb appeal”? A clean curb and gutter send the message that your home is taken care of.  A dirty gutter will make the appearance of your property look uncared for and unsightly. Following storms, or warm-up periods in winter, the gutter may back up with water, being dammed up by debris. This can create a possible hazard to motorists/pedestrians and in some cases, perhaps result in minor flooding at a property, or residence.  When you drive through a dirty gutter into your driveway, your car tracks that dirt with it. Then as you walk from your driveway to your home, that dirt finds its way into your home. So keeping your gutter clean keeps that dirt from getting into your home.