County Council Passes Snow Removal Bill

The Montgomery County Council  passed what they are calling the snow removal bill on Oct. 21 with the goal of preparing the county for future snow seasons.

photo of Montgomery County Council briefingBacked by eight members of the council, and sponsored by Councilmember Hans Riemer, the bill requires a plan that includes a digital map of the county that shows who is responsible for clearing snow on each sidewalk in the county.

“We can do better, if we intend to do better. … The goal of  this bill is to make our county more walkable in every season. This bill promotes public safety and mobility as well as resilience by making it safer for people to walk where they need to go,” Riemer said.

According to a press release, the bill was co-sponsored by Councilmember Nancy Navarro and had been unanimously recommended for council approval by the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee. The legislation requires the county executive to develop a sidewalk snow removal plan for publicly-owned land that prioritizes high-volume pedestrian routes, bus stops, school zones, along state highways, and urban districts; a digital map of the county that shows who is responsible for clearing snow and ice from each sidewalk in the county, and a public education campaign on property owners responsibilities for clearing snow and ice from their sidewalk.

Councilmember George Leventhal voted against the bill, but before doing so, he asked questions about the bill and what the current legislation does for residents. Leventhal questioned the need to pass legislation, the plan for trash removal during a major snow storm, and the fairness on deciding what roads should be considered priority.

Transportation officials said the intention of the bill was to fill in the gap under existing law- property owners in Montgomery County are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks that are contiguous to their property within 24 hours.

According to county’s documents, the office of management and budget, estimated the annual cost to clear all sidewalks in the county to be $6 million.

Navarro said that these snowstorms “unfortunately” have become the new normal.

“Whatever vehicle a councilmember chooses to use; it could be a legislation, it could be a resolution, etc., everybody  pretty much has the flexibility on pursing that. I think it’s relevant,” Navarro said.

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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


4 Responses to “County Council Passes Snow Removal Bill”

  1. On October 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm responded with... #

    I suggest that the Council concentrate on the streets first befor the sidewalks. In my area, we have a subcontractor with trucks that cant push the snow or they make two passes on the street and leave the owner to clean from the driveway out into the street. Another thing, I live on a corner. When I cleared the walk to the corner, a plow would just plow the snow back over the corner again. If they expect me to re-clean the corner again, they are so wrong. Surely they have more things to do than to make new laws about cleaning the snow from walks. Let’s spend that money on more snow removal equipment for the streets.

  2. On January 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm responded with... #

    To Whom this May Concern,
    Pazit Aviv at HHS, referred me to this link and suggested my group voice our complaints regarding snow removal in Montgomery County.I personally live in a townhome community so my complaint is with the slow response by the Management Co.;however, many in my village are single family homeowners and seniors as well, who experienced very little county sponsored snow removal and a lot of price gauging by unscrupulous snow plowers. We are meeting on Monday at the East County Community Center to discuss our experiences and recommendations for prevention next time; as well as include those honest providers in our directory of Service Providers. We are a relatively new village, but growing fast. Should you require additional info contact me at the above email until our website is developed. thanx,

  3. On January 31, 2016 at 5:11 pm responded with... #

    I agree with the previous individuals, and I add , the law that it is stupid. I am a SENIOR and can’t do what they want. My snowblower is hard to use, and can’t work if it is wet snow . I grew up in NY and we walked to school and home in the snow, heavy rains etc.-bus service forget it. I can only remember one storm that schools were closed. I can understand the streets for cars. Its a situation, but is it necessary. KEEP the streets open only. I was on vacation this last storm and my neighbors cleared several houses for the shut-ins, and me. I”M lucky. Maybe that’s why the elderly are lasting longer.

  4. On February 1, 2016 at 11:14 am responded with... #

    Feb. 1, 2015 Snow removal for this blizzard was EXTREMELY HORRIBLE! I have lived in my house 33 years and have never experienced such a horrible situation on my street – Custis Drive in Norbeck Estates – Rockville. We are senior citizens who live at the end of a cul de sac. We were snowed in for 6 days. After numerous calls, emails, tweets, we were finally plowed out late on Thursday afternoon. A snow plow showed up at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday and stopped at the top of the hill for awhile. Then, he left never to return. Thursday morning, a snow plow showed up at 7:30 a.m. and plowed the top of the street, but then left a huge snowpile across the entrance to our circle. We were totally stranded, even worse than before. We were trapped. Finally, about 4 p.m., two front loaders showed up and did a great job of cleaning the circle. I and neighbors had called County Council members, Channel 4 and Channel 7 news. We tried everything and until Thursday, we were totally ignored. What really galled us were two things: 1) Leggett saying that all streets would be cleaned by 7 a.m. Wednesday and they were not; and 2) they plowed one half of Custis Drive and then said that we were done by Wednesday (it wasn’t our half). I couldn’t leave a message for Leggett’s office. Craig Rice’s office and Nancy Floreen’s offices were very responsive. I think the County Council needs to take a strong look at how badly this was handled. Some heads should roll for the incompetency exhibited by the County for this whole debacle. Thank you.

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