If the snow really does start to fall, be sure to clear a 3-foot-wide path on your sidewalk. It's the law.

by Pete Mazzaccaro

The dusting of snow we got yesterday evening didn’t amount to much, but it’s a reminder of what may be in our near future. Winter is here and we’re likely to face shoveling our sidewalks soon.

Shoveling your sidewalk — whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner — has always been required by law. But last week, our district councilwoman Donna Reed Miller proposed an update to the snow shoveling ordinance that was passed by City Council.

The new law requires property owners to clear at least a three-foot-wide path of snow and ice within six hours of the time snow stops falling.

Those shovel-wide little paths are not going to cut it anymore. In case you’re wondering, fines for failing to clear snow and ice are currently set at between $100 and $300.

The new ordinance reads as follows:

§10-720. Snow Removal from Sidewalks.

(1)    The owner, agent and tenants of any building or premises shall clear a path of not less than 36 inches in width on all sidewalks abutting the building or premises within 6 hours after the snow has ceased to fall. The path shall be thoroughly cleared of snow and ice. Where the width of any pavement measured from the property line to the curb is less than 3 feet, the path cleared may be only 12 inches in width. When the building in question is a multifamily dwelling the owner or his agent shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this Section.