Is Your Property Code-Compliant? You’ll Soon Find Out

Swarthmore’s Code Enforcement Officer hit the streets last week. All properties in the borough are being inspected for compliance with the following regulations, which are intended to create a safe environment for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers in Swarthmore.

Trees and Shrubbery

Trees, bushes and hedges may not interfere with the free passage of pedestrians along public sidewalks or of vehicles along roadways. Specifically:

• Trees, whether on private property or within street lines, must be kept trimmed so that no branch or twig is less than eight feet above the level of the sidewalk or roadway. (Street trees may be trimmed, but not removed, without permission from the borough.)

• Hedges and shrubbery must be kept trimmed so that no part is closer than six inches to the air corridor above a public sidewalk.

• A triangle of unobstructed vision (see drawing) must be maintained at intersecting streets. Hedges, shrubs, trees (except street trees) within the triangle may not exceed 24 inches in height.

• Shrubbery and trees must not obscure any street sign, street light, or traffic light.

Street Intersection Triangle of Unobstructed Vision


It is the responsibility of each owner of property abutting any street in the borough to keep their sidewalk in proper repair and properly drained. Specifically:

• Sidewalks must be free of any misalignment between slabs measuring 1/2 inch or more. “Ramping” between slabs is permitted only if the height from the bottom to the top of the ramp does not exceed 1 inch. No permit is needed for this work.

• Sidewalk slabs which are broken, dished, missing, severely cracked or disintegrated, or which have become excessively slippery, or which do not drain water, must be replaced. A permit is required for sidewalk replacement.

Those who receive a violation notice and do not complete the required work will receive a second notice and a $50 fine. Subsequent fines for failure to complete the required work are $150 each.

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