Press Club

A County Board Member is in Violation of Arlington’s Snow Removal Ordinance

(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) In 2010, Jay Fisette was the lone County Board member to vote against the county’s snow removal ordinance.

In 2015, he is the lone County Board member with a snowy sidewalk in front of his house.

Responding to a reader tip, ARLnow.com checked out the sidewalk in front of Fisette’s home last night, as well as those in front of County Board members Walter Tejada, John Vihstadt and the County Board Chair, Mary Hynes. (Libby Garvey lives in a condominium.)

While those of his colleagues were immaculately cleared, the sidewalk in front of Fisette’s Ashton Heights home was still largely covered with snow and ice. There was some evidence of perhaps an attempt at shoveling, but much of the sidewalk was completely covered.

Arlington’s snow removal ordinance requires homeowners to clear snow and ice from the entire width of their sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a snow event with accumulations below six inches, or within 36 hours of a six inch or higher snowfall. It calls for a fine between $50 and $100 for violations.

Fisette wasn’t the only one in his neighborhood with an snowy, icy sidewalk. Numerous houses, including one across the street, were in violation of the ordinance as well.

Fisette also isn’t the only local county policymaker guilty to not following their county’s snow ordinance. Yesterday, the Washington Post pointed out that the sidewalk outside Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal’s house still had patches of ice and snow.

This afternoon, Fisette talked to ARLnow.com and issued a mea culpa.

“I should have figured out a way to clean the sidewalk,” Fistte acknowledged. “The ordinance was an attempt to improve or keep sidewalks safe for people, and that’s a very worthy goal. I’ve always done that in the past.”

Fisette explained that his husband is out of town this week and he worked a 14 hour day on Tuesday, when the snow struck, leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. and not returning until 10:00 p.m.

“I know everybody has had complications… it’s not meant to be an excuse, because I should have gone out and done it,” he said. “I will take care of it when I get home from work at the end of the day.”

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