Changes to snow removal ordinance

February 05, 2004

Hagerstown city officials have changed the way they are enforcing the city's snow removal ordinance. Officials recently began enforcing the long-standing code, and have charged some city property owners more than $200 for inspectors to visit the property and a contractor to clear snow from sidewalks.

The Ordinance

A city ordinance requires property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks within four to 10 hours after the end of precipitation, depending where the property lies within the line defined by Church Street, East Avenue, Mulberry Street, Baltimore Street and Prospect Street.

Property owners must clear the width of the sidewalk or a 48-inch path, whichever is smaller.

If the city finds a property is out of compliance, the snow can be cleared by a city contractor. If a contractor clears snow from a property, the city will assess to the owner a $100 administrative fee and labor costs.

Old Policy

  • City-owned properties: The city attempted to clear all of its sidewalks. When complaints were sent to the city, the appropriate agency was notified and was supposed to clear its public sidewalks.

  • Notification: Some property owners were given written notice when inspectors first found a compliance problem.

The city waited at least two days after a snowfall to begin enforcing the code. An inspector visited a problem property to verify it was still noncompliant.


Once the city sent a list of noncompliant properties to the contractor, the contractor had one day to clear the sidewalk. An inspector visited the property again to verify the work was completed, and the owner was sent a bill.

New Policy

  • City-owned properties: The city will clear its sidewalks before it begins enforcing the snow removal policy on private property. If code inspectors find the city is not in compliance more than two days after a snowfall, the agency in charge of the walkway will be treated like private property owners, and possibly charged for snow-clearing.

  • Notification: Officials will wait two days before they begin enforcing the ordinance.

If a property is not in compliance with city code, the city will issue a written notice to property owners that explains there is a $100 city administrative fee and labor costs associated with city-ordered snow removal.

The notice also will note the day on which the contractor will come to clear the sidewalk. If the property owner clears the sidewalk before the contractor arrives, there will be no charge.

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