Winter Weather Reminders for Snow Removal

Howard County does not maintain any sidewalks, including snow removal, with exception of the sidewalks adjacent to County buildings (libraries, offices, etc.). The owner of property abutting a sidewalk in a public right-of-way is responsible for removing snow from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the snow has fallen. In the event of a multi-unit building with more than one occupant, it shall be the duty of the lessor to remove the snow unless the lessor has obligated a tenant who is actually occupying the property to do so. (See Howard County Code, Section 18.402(h)(1).) This applies to public streets and is applicable to sidewalks adjacent to public property. However, per Section 18.402(h)(2), if the County Executive declares a state of emergency under Section 6.103 of the County Code, the County Executive may extend the time to remove snow.

If a property owner has not removed the snow within the allotted time frame, you may want to contact the property owner and advise him or her of the County Code. If you are unsure who owns a property, contact Howard County’s  Real Estate Services Division at 410-313-2330. If you have an exact address, they can look up the property owner and may be able to give you a contact name and number.

Another idea is to reach out and ask the property owner if he or she needs assistance. Although the property owner might like to comply with the law, many residents are physically unable to shovel snow and ice and are hesitant to request help from neighbors or friends. Your thoughtfulness can make a big difference to someone who might otherwise be unable to cope. As a last resort, to file a complaint, contact the Howard County Police Department at 410-313-2200.

Keep in mind that Columbia Association (CA) will clear snow on CA property only. CA does clear the pathways that are on their property. Please be patient because there are hundreds of miles of pathways to clear after snowfall. Openings/Closings can be viewed on the Columbia Association website at

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