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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time for some snow fines?

    If you have followed this blog you know how one of my pet peeves is the sidewalks that don't get cleared with heavy snowfalls.  The picture above shows how sidewalks on the back side of homes never get shoveled.  The residents of these homes don't use the sidewalks behind their homes so they ignore the Howard County law that requires homeowners to clear sidewalks in front or behind their homes. The Howard County Code states:
  "Howard County does not maintain any sidewalks, including snow removal, with exception of 
the sidewalks adjacent to County buildings (libraries, offices, etc.). The owner of property 
abutting a sidewalk in a public right-of-way is responsible for removing snow from the 
sidewalk within 48 hours after the snow has fallen. In the event of a multi-unit building with 
more than one occupant, it shall be the duty of the lessor to remove the snow unless the 
lessor has obligated a tenant who is actually occupying the property to do so. (Howard 
County Code, Section 18.402(h). This applies to public streets and is applicable to sidewalks 
adjacent to public property. 
     If a property owner has not removed the snow within 48 hours, you may want to contact 
the property owner and advise him or her of the County code. If you are unsure who owns a 
property, contact our Real Estate Services Division at 410-313-2330. If you have an exact 
address, they can look up the property owner and may be able to give you a contact name 
and number. 
     As a last resort, to file a complaint, contact the Howard County Police Department at 410-
313-2200. "
  With schools opening today the sidewalks that are not cleared will cause students to walk in the street to get to school.   The picture below was taken yesterday in front of Oakland Mills High School near the townhouse complex next to the school. 

    I am sure that the complex has a homeowners association but they apparently don't feel the need to pay to have the sidewalks cleared in front of their complex.  Businesses are also not exempt from neglecting their responsibilities as the sidewalks in front of the YMCA Daycare Center on Homespun Lane show below.

      The Columbia Association plows up to the property line for the Day Care Center and that is where the clearing for the sidewalk ends.  
      Maybe it is time to put some teeth into the requirement to clear sidewalks.  Is it time for the County to send out notices to residents and businesses reminding them of their responsibility and setting up a system of fines for not clearing sidewalks?  The present system of the Code being violated often seems to be useless without some enforcement procedures that go beyond what is currently in place.  Do we have to wait for a student to get hit walking on the road before this issue is addressed?

    HoCo Library and our street names are recognized in this Maryland promotion video.

1 comment:

cevans said...

So who is responsible for the crosswalks in median strips? I noticed yesterday how piled up with snow many of them were.