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Washington D.C. Now Fining You For Not Shoveling

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Yes... we're definitely aware that it's summer and way too hot to be thinking about snow, but for those of you in the D.C. area, this is some news you may want to go ahead and pay attention. 

D.C. Public Works is now requiring both residents and businesses to clear their sidewalks after snowstorms. On Friday, the 21st, D.C. Department of Public Works published regulations laying out a schedule of fines for residents and businesses who fail to shovel away snow and ice after a storm.

Under the proposed legislation residents could be fined $25 and businesses $150 for not clearing up to 36 inches of sidewalk in front of their property within 24 hours of the end of a storm. The rules offer exemptions for any resident who is either over the age of 65 or can prove that they suffer from a disability.

Some local politicians have long complained that the law was too difficult to enforce and that any untouched sidewalk had to be cleared by the city, leaving the home or business owner to be sued to cover that cost. No lawsuits were ever filed for failure to clear away snow or ice.

But for years any attempts to add teeth to the law have gone nowhere. Local leaders have argued that senior citizens and those who are disabled would be unfairly fined for not shoveling, despite their inability to do so. But after provisions were added to the law exempting them, it easily passed the Council.

The proposed rules only allow residents or businesses to be fined once every 24 hours, and do not establish a graduated schedule of fines for repeat offenders as the Council had initially debated.

After the rules are finalized, the Department of Public Works will still have to notify every resident and business of the new fines.

So with all these new rulings, be sure to check your local laws as this is a common law in major population centers and you don't want to get stuck with penalties every day!

Just some tips from your friendly eheat family!

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