Montgomery examines aftermath of storm -- Gazette.Net


Since Mother Nature dumped more than a foot of snow on Montgomery County last week, the county has received nearly 200 complaints about residents or shops who have not removed snow from the sidewalk in front of their homes or businesses.

County law requires people to remove snow and ice from any sidewalk, walkway or parking area on or adjacent to property they own, lease or manage within 24 hours after the snow stops falling.

The county has received 192 requests about snow shoveling since Thursday, county spokeswoman Esther Bowring said Tuesday.

The county law requiring property owners to clear pathways wide enough for use by pedestrians or people in wheelchairs does not apply to unpaved walkways, and walkways or parking areas on the property of a single-family home. People who live in apartments or other multiple-family homes aren’t responsible for removing snow or ice from sidewalks or parking lots.

If ice or packed-down snow is “impossible or unreasonably difficult to remove,” a property owner is responsible for putting down sand, salt or some other material so that the area is safe for people to walk on, according to the law.

Last week’s storm featured multiple times when snow fell, causing the 24-hour timetable to reset several times, Bowring said.

The county is in the process of sending out letters to property owners who didn’t clear their sidewalks, she said.

A violation results in a $50 fine for residential properties and a $50-per-day violation for multifamily and commercial properties.

By Thursday morning, Damascus reported 19 inches of snow, the highest in Montgomery or Frederick counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The only area not to report more than a foot of snow by that time was Takoma Park at 9.2 inches.

It was the worst winter storm to hit Maryland since the “Snowmageddon” of 2010.

The county’s policy is that 12 inches of snow should take about 60 hours to be cleaned up, county spokesman Patrick Lacefield said Tuesday.

Plow crews focused on clearing primary and arterial roads first but were able to complete first runs through county neighborhoods by around 7 p.m. Friday, he said.

The county used about 680 pieces of equipment in dealing with the storm, Lacefield said.