City allows extra time to clear ice

January 29, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown city officials haven't issued citations to residents or business owners who failed to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow after this week's storm, Chief Code Enforcement Officer John Lestitian said Thursday.

The city typically gives people four hours to remove snow in the business district and 10 hours in other parts of the city after snow stops falling, Lestitian said.

The business district is defined "as those properties located within the area bounded by Church Street and East Avenue to the north, Mulberry Street to the east, Baltimore Street to the south and Prospect Street to the west," according to the city's Web site.

But the thick ice that accumulated this week, which is much harder to remove than snow, has prompted the city to give people "more time to get this removed," Lestitian said. "We're trying to balance public safety with the difficulty of removing the ice."


At this point, city code inspectors are giving residents warnings instead of citations, Lestitian said.

The city will hire a contractor to remove ice and snow from the sidewalks of people who fail to comply with the snow-removal ordinance during the next storm, Lestitian said.

In addition to receiving the bill, violators will be ordered to pay a $65 administration fee. Subsequent violations will carry the same fees and a $200 citation, he said.

Residents who are unable to shovel their walks have an option, said Cindy Blackstock, city community development coordinator. The city's Snow Removal Program, which is in its third year, matches qualifying residents with volunteers who will do the work for free.

The volunteers were dispatched to remove ice and snow during minor storms earlier this year, she said, but not for the one this week.

"We haven't heard from anyone for this snowfall," Blackstock said. "We do have volunteers in place. We don't want to see anyone harm themselves (shoveling snow) if they're not physically able."

If you qualify for snow help

To qualify for assistance through Hagerstown's Snow Removal Program, residents must:

o Be the actual property owner

o Have a physical or mental condition that prohibits them from shoveling snow

o Be financially unable to pay for the service

o Have no family, neighbors or friends who can assist

To learn more about the Snow Removal Program, call 301-739-8577, ext. 191.

The Herald-Mail Articles