Not shoveling snow after a storm can lead to fines

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Shoveling snow can be a pain, but it can also impact your wallet if you don’t do it. 22News discovered how long you have to shovel your sidewalk.

If you haven’t shoveled yet, you still have a little bit of time, before you can be fined.

Since this snow isn’t going to melt quickly, it’s going to have to be shoveled. Most towns and cities have an ordinance on the books that says if you don’t make a reasonable effort to remove snow or ice from your sidewalk you can be fined, but how long is too long?

“School kids have to go to school obviously so you want to have it somewhat clear for them,” said West Springfield’s Jamie Scott.

“I’d say at least about till noon or 2 o’clock,” said Chicopee’s Abdou Mourad.

Every city or town in western Massachusetts is different, but generally you have about 24 hours from when the storm ends to make sure that your sidewalk is clear.

I wait until my snow blower can actually shovel it properly because it gets too high and then you have to go back out and do it again.

Springfield’s Code Enforcement Director Dave Cotter told 22News that if you own the home shoveling is your responsibility.  If you rent a single family home,  it’s generally the tenants responsibility to shovel not the landlord, but in a multi-family home situation, it’s usually on the landlord.  In Springfield, police can start to hand out $50 fines, 24 hours after it stops snowing.

Beyond a fine, if someone gets hurt on your property because you didn’t shovel, you can be sued. The state’s highest court says homeowners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe.

  • Springfield: $50 Fine, if not shoveled 24 hours after the snow stops.
  • Northampton: It is important for the health and safety of residents that sidewalks are cleared of snow within 24 hours from the end of a snow event. If you are responsible for a sidewalk on your property please clear the snow as soon as possible. Fines can be levied by the Police Department if snow is not cleared.
  • Holyoke: 24 hours, $25 fine
  • Agawam: 24 hours, $25 fine
  • Chicopee: 24 hours, $50 fine

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