The snow will soon stop falling, but that means that it's on someone to clean it up. And in most cases, that's everyone.
Almost every local jurisdiction in the metropolitan area requires that home- and business-owners clear their walks within a certain timeframe after the snow stops falling. In some places it's eight hours, in others it's 48.
Here's what you need to know for where you live:
- In Arlington, residents and business-owners have 24 hours from the end of snowfall to clean snow and ice off of public sidewalks adjacent to their property; a three-foot area must be cleared. Failure to do so could result in a $50 fine. Also, snow cannot be moved from private to public property; doing so could end with a $250 fine.
- Montgomery County also gives residents 24 hours, and also requires three feet of clearance.
- But even within Montgomery County, different towns and villages have varying policies on snow removal. In Gaithersburg, for example, snow and ice have to be removed within 12 hours of snow stopping. Rockville allows between 24 and 72 hours, depending on how much snow is on the ground. (Less than three inches gives residents 24 hours, between three and nine inches is 48 hours).
- Prince George's County goes longer, giving residents 48 hours to clear snow and ice. But county officials have in the past warned of the health risks associated with shoveling, including heart attacks.
- In D.C., snow and ice have to be removed within eight daylight hours after snow stops falling. The city will clear snow and ice from in front of homes and businesses that fail to do so themselves, and sue to get the money back for doing so.
- Fairfax County doesn't require residents to clear snow and ice, but they do ask that they do so.
- Alexandria gives residents anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to clear sidewalks, depending on the severity of the storm. A failure to do so will result in a $50 fine; residents are asked to report non-compliance to 703-746-HELP.
- Loudoun County (here in PDF) may be the strictest in the region: residents only get six hours after snow stops falling to clear sidewalks. That doesn't apply to incorporated towns with their own rules, though, and residents are exempted if removing snow or ice would damage their sidewalk. (If that happens, they have to put down sand or ash.) Violators can be fined $250 — per day.