Some local counties will wait longer to issue sidewalk citations

WASHINGTON — Understanding just how much snow residents have to shovel, some local jurisdictions say they will wait a few days before issuing sidewalk citations.

“We hope people will get out and do what they can,” said Montgomery County spokesman Patrick Lacefield. “We totally understand this is a lot different than clearing 2, 3, 4 inches off your walk. This is clearing up to as much as, I guess, three feet off your walk, so we’re going to pursue this in a way that’s very much common sense.”

D.C., Prince George’s, Loudoun and Arlington counties also said they will hold off writing citations.

“We are asking people to do the best they can, look out for their neighbors as well as those neighbors who happen to be out of town,” said Linda Grant, a spokeswoman with D.C. Public Works, the agency that enforces sidewalk shoveling regulations.

Those who need help clearing sidewalks should contact ServeDC and the Resident Snow Team at 311 or 202-727-7925.

In Loudoun County, enforcement is on a complaint-only basis.

“Under the circumstances, even if a citizen were to complain, we cannot foresee a circumstance in which people would be cited in the near future,” said county spokesman Glen Barbour.

In Fairfax County, there is no sidewalk ordinance on the books.

“Those sidewalks are critically important and bus stops, especially bus stops for the kids to get them back to school need to be cleared out. So we’re asking everyone in the community to pitch in and do their part,” said county spokesman Tony Castrilli.

The county also needs residents to clear 3 feet around each fire hydrant and clear the storm drains on their street to prevent flooding.

On the county’s Facebook page, Arlington posted this statement:

“We don’t plan to issue citations on Monday or Tuesday, Jan. 25/26 (thus suspending our enforcement to give more time to clear snow). We need everyone working together on snow-clearing efforts – residents, businesses, and government — to keep our community safe and get Arlington back up and running again.”

Most counties are providing detailed information on their websites for residents.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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