Snow fines could increase in parts of the region

Snow in D.C.. At 18th and Q streets in Northwest. The city could start fining residents who don\'t clear their sidewalks within eight hours of a snow storm. (WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

WASHINGTON – We’re still waiting for the first big winter snow, but local lawmakers have preliminarily approved new fines for people who don’t shovel their sidewalks.

Residents have eight daylight hours after a snow storm to clear their sidewalks, according to D.C. Law. It is rarely enforced despite having been on the books for years.

Councilmember Mary Cheh says the new fines would start at $25 bucks for homeowners and $125 for businesses. As of now, there is no mechanism to compel government buildings to comply with the law, she says.

In surrounding jurisdictions, the window for clearing snow is a bit longer.

Montgomery and Arlington counties give residents 24 hours after a storm to clean up. Prince George’s County has a 48-hour window.

In Fairfax County, there is no law stating that snow must be cleared from residential sidewalks. The county asks residents to clear sidewalks on their property for their own safety and the safety of others. Those who cannot do so are not penalized.

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