Baltimore County Law on Snow Shoveling Sidewalks

Towson sidewalk shoveled

Baltimore County Law on snow shoveling sidewalks is not well-known — but it is important!

Baltimore County law states that sidewalks MUST be shoveled within 24 hours after a snow storm. This is laid out in the Baltimore County Code of Ordinances, “Roads, Bridges and Sidewalks, 18-3-107 Removal of Snow and Ice.”

Baltimore County relies on reports from the public when sidewalks have not been cleared. A letter is sent out by the Department of Public Works after a complaint has been received.

If a citation is made, it comes with a $25 fine.

Here is how it currently reads as of 1/21/15 (things can always change) (and a link to the code: )

(a) Required. Within 24 hours after the fall of any snow, each person or public institution occupying or using a residential, commercial, or industrial building in any manner or for any purpose shall remove and clear away, or cause to be removed and cleared away, the snow from the foot pavements fronting the respective houses, stores, shops, stables, houses of worship, lots occupied by any buildings, unoccupied buildings, and unoccupied lots that run along streets in the county.
(b) Manner of removal. In removing or clearing the snow, the person may not:
(1) Obstruct the passage of water in gutters along the street; or
(2) Throw the snow on the paved portion of the street.
(c) County may remove. If the person required to remove and clear snow under this section does not remove and clear the snow, the county may do so at the expense of the person.
(d) Expense a lien.
(1) If the person does not pay the expense incurred by the county for snow removal under this section, the expense shall be a lien on the property in the same manner as taxes, and shall be collected in the same manner provided by law for the collection of taxes.
(2) Charges and assessments imposed under this subsection are benefit charges and may not exceed a reasonable estimate of the special benefit conferred on the property.
(e) Removal of ice. The person required to remove and clear snow also shall keep ice and every type of obstruction out of the gutters leading to and off the pavements or sidewalks located in front or at the rear or sides of the same buildings.
(f) Penalty. In addition to the other remedies provided in this section, a person who fails to comply with this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $25 for each failure and an additional $25 for each day the obstruction continues.
(1988 Code, § 31-8) (Bill No. 3, 1990, § 2; Bill No. 66-01, § 2, 7-1-2004)Another item of importance to note — you are not allowed to throw snow in paved portions of the street, or block drains or gutters in the street.”

Make sure, if you have sidewalks, to have them cleared within 24 hours of the end of the snowstorm!

Here are details about the Baltimore City sidewalk snow removal ordinance.

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  • Cheryl B. says:

    Not only am I a bus rider but I do a lot of walking. The sidewalks all along Liberty Road are atrocious. I have tried to complain, call and email and no one helps. Who can give a darn and look into this with action?

  • jerry says:

    What about the people Who are physical not able to remove snow

  • scott miller says:

    why isn’t this law inforced ?

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Hi Scott, my understanding from a local CBS News broadcast last year is that the county relies on complaints to be made.

  • KdonnRN says:

    Can you tell me about the senior citizens, specifically the little old ladies who do not have families near by to help them? I know DC has a 65 year old age limit? I know of an 80 yo woman who goes out in hazardous condition every hour to avoid “Goin to jail”

  • Hallie says:

    I think it’s a ridiculous law. My husband is 73, and I am 68 with Raynaud’s and scleroderma, so I cannot help. We have no relatives in the area, and after a storm like this one not a single person has come by offering to dig us out for a fee! My husband worked for several hours today just trying to get our driveway cleared so we can get one of our two cars out. He only got it 2/3 done for the one car.

    Sidewalks too? Give me a break! It’s so unrealistic for seniors to have to do this or even to have to pay the exhorbitant fees for clearing 30″ of snow off of a long sidewalk. This law needs to be repealed, at least for seniors, or we’ll have them dying of heart attacks all over Baltimore County!

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Hi Hallie, I am sorry to hear of your health issues. My thought is to contact your county official to discuss with him or her.

  • DianeA says:

    First, our street was not plowed within 24 hours and we are expected to shovel side walks? I did that one year only to have the plow close off the sidewalk with a six foot or better pile of snow and ice!!!
    This year I did not shovel that piece and true to form, it now has again, a six foot or better pile of snow and ice that won’t be gone until it melts.

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Hi Diane, I would imagine the 24 hour rule couldn’t be expected to apply in a storm of this magnitude, if the streets couldn’t be plowed during that time, but I do not know. It is worth contacting your county official to find out, and discuss with him or her.

  • Alex says:

    Hilarious. I happened upon this while I’m looking up the website to complain to the county about not clearing the snow from my STREET for FOUR DAYS and having to call out of work for the past two days as a result of my car being stuck. Am I allowed to fine the county?

  • Russ Sears says:

    I cleaned my sidewalks and dug out half way across our street which is equivalent to 5 lanes including parking and turn lanes. This evening, Wednesday, a front loader piled snow on top of what was there on my front curb and filled in what was a clear walk.
    I believe that this was an illegal act on the part of Baltimore County. It is not my fault that there was no place to put the snow. I fulfilled my legal obligation to clear the walks and Baltimore County saw fit to fill them in. Where does this situation fall in the law to clear sidewalks? Where are my neighbors and I supposed to walk now…. on the street?

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Russ, you should probably call Baltimore County about this issue. The Department of Public Works phone number is 410-887-3300.

  • evelyn says:

    how about when an idiot neighbor plows 6 feet of snow next to your mailbox and you have nowhere to shovel your snow to clear your box because its so high? Then proceeds to plow from his neighbors driveway into the street AFTER our road is plowed so people can get stuck in their cars!

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Evelyn, if there is still snow in your street, call Baltimore County. They are still working on the roads. I saw a number of front end loaders, dump trucks, and plows out today.

  • FFLANAGAN says:

    Saturday, I had my front and side sidewalks cleaned. Yesterday snow plowers dug snow out

    of the street on to my sidewalk and into my front yard.- at least 10 to 15 feet inside private yard.

    Do I have any “say so”?

  • Jack says:

    Is there a way OTHER THAN A PHONE CALL to complain about sidewalks not being shoveled? I dont want to make a phone call because it would take too long to list every house in our neighborhood that is in violation. It would be easier just to send an email with a list. In Catonsville, we have more houses in violation than not. And I suspect this is the case in many areas. Thanks, in advance.

    • Marney Kirk says:

      Jack, I would still recommend calling, and maybe someone there can give you an alternate way to communicate addresses to them.

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