Virginia Sidewalk Snow Removal Laws
Sidewalk snow removal laws vary from community to community across Virginia. If you’re a property owner, it’s important to check your city or homeowner’s association codes to see who is responsible for snow and ice removal.
Penalties for leaving public sidewalks adjacent to your property uncleared range from a $5 ticket to hundreds of dollars in fines.
But what if someone slips and falls on a sidewalk you were to have cleared but didn’t?
Do You Have The Right Amount of Coverage?
Homeowners insurance could provide some coverage for liability and some medical payments to the injured person. But an insurance company could also deny coverage if it determines you knew about an unsafe sidewalk and did nothing to fix it.
Liability payments can get expensive quickly, so many will also buy optional “personal umbrella liability coverage” for added protection.
Renters insurance also provides liability coverage, but whether the tenant or landlord is responsible for a slip and fall on a sidewalk depends on the terms of the lease and local ordinances.
So check below to see if you’re responsible for the sidewalks outside your home in our comprehensive list of Virginia municipal codes. It’s also a good idea to chat with your insurance agent to see if you have the appropriate coverage to protect you from liability costs.
Sidewalk Snow Removal Laws by City/County
Assumptions: Snow refers to snow/sleet/ice and in some cases mud. Sidewalks referenced are those that are adjacent to or abutting a privately owned property. Click on the city or county name to be taken to the locality’s government webpage that states the official code.
Alexandria: Residents have between 24 and 72 hours to shovel, depending on the storm response level, which you can check at www.alexandriava.gov. At Level 1, you have 24 hours to shovel; at Level 2, you have 48 hours; at Level 3, you have 72 hours.
Abingdon: Snow and ice should be removed, but there are no specific time guidelines.
Amherst: Property owners are responsible for clearing the snow and litter from the sidewalks in front of their property with no specific deadlines provided.
Appomattox: Any building or lot bordering any street, whether there is a paved sidewalk or not, shall have all snow removed within 6 hours after the snow has stopped falling, unless the snow has fallen during the night or on a Sunday, in which case it has to be removed by noon the following day.
Arlington County: Shovel within 24 hours of snow accumulation of fewer than six inches. Snowfall of more than six inches must be cleared within 36 hours. The shoveling deadline will be posted on the Arlington website, along with tips for residents who are physically unable to shovel.
Bedford: Have all snow removed from sidewalks or footways within six hours after snow has stopped falling, unless it has fallen during the night, in which case it should be removed before 12:00 noon the succeeding day.
Blacksburg: Within twenty-four (24) hours after a snowfall, each property owner or tenant shall remove the snow from the paved sidewalk in front of his or her property.
Bridgewater: Snow should be removed from the entire sidewalk in front of any property, within six daylight hours after the snow has ceased to fall. Any person failing to comply with these requirements shall pay a fine of $5.00 for each offense.
Buena Vista: The tenant or occupant, and in case there shall be no tenant or occupant, the owner, or any person having the care of any building or lot of land abutting on any curbed or paved sidewalk shall, during the first eight hours of daylight following the time when snow or ice ceases to fall or form, cause the same to be removed from such curbed or paved sidewalk.
Charlottesville: Remove snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of snowfall.
Chesapeake: There is no municipal ordinance regarding the removal of snow from sidewalks and other walkways.
Chesterfield: There is no county ordinance regarding snow removal. Individual developments and homeowner associations may have requirements, but the county does not enforce them.
Christiansburg: Any property which has a sidewalk of brick, wood or concrete abutting shall have all snow and sleet removed from such sidewalk within 24 hours after plowing of the street has been completed. If the owner of such property cannot be found, the town manager may cause that sidewalk to be cleaned or covered and may, after notice, proceed against the owner for the costs of the work.
Clifton Forge: Sidewalks or footways of permanent paved material adjoining or touching a property shall have all snow removed within 12 hours after the snow has stopped, unless it has fallen during the night or on Sunday, in which case it shall be removed by 6:00 p.m. the next day. If the precipitation or mud cannot be removed without damaging the sidewalk, cover it with sawdust, ashes or other materials that will render it safe for travel.
Colonial Heights: No specific requirements are listed, but the code does state that all owners or occupants of property having sidewalks have to keep them clean and sanitary, and free from all weeds, filth, snow, and unsightly deposits.
Covington: All owners or occupants of property within the limits of the city shall remove the snow from their sidewalks within 12 hours after snow has stopped. If the snowfall occurs during the night or on Sunday, it shall be removed by 12:00 noon the following day.
Culpepper: Snow must be removed from any sidewalk or footway within six (6) hours after snow has stopped, unless it has snowed during the night, in which case it shall be removed by noon the day following.
Danville: Snow and ice removal from sidewalks should be done within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling.
Emporia: All snow must be removed from sidewalks or footways within 6 hours after the snow has stopped, unless it fell during the night or on Sunday, in which case it shall be removed by 12:00 noon on the day following.
Fairfax County and the city of Fairfax: Residents are encouraged but not legally obligated to shovel their sidewalks.
Falls Church: Residents have 12 hours after snow has stopped to shovel their sidewalks or risk a fine.
Franklin: There are no requirements listed regarding snow removal. The code does have requirements regarding flooding.
Fredericksburg: All owners or occupants of property within city limits shall remove the snow within 12 hours after ice has formed or snow has ceased to fall.
Galax: All snow shall be removed within six hours after the snow shall has stopped falling, unless such snow fell during the night or on Sunday, in which case it shall be removed by 12:00 noon the day following. If the snow cannot be removed without damaging the sidewalk, the surface must be covered in the period of time specified with sand, ashes or some other substance that will render it safe for travel.
Grottoes: In Grottoes, snow is expected to be removed from sidewalks within 3 hours from the time snowfall stops, unless it falls overnight, in which case it shall be cleared away by 10:00 a.m. the following morning.
Hampton: All sidewalks and walkways must be cleared of snow and ice within 3 hours after snow has stopped falling or by 9 a.m. if the precipitation happened overnight.
Hanover County: There is no county ordinance regarding snow removal from sidewalks and other public walkways.
Harrisonburg: Snow shall be removed within 24 hours if snowfall is six inches or less. Within 36 hours if snowfall is greater than six inches.
Henrico: Snow removal on private property is the responsibility of the owner; however, there is no county ordinance requiring snow removal by law.
Loudoun County: Property owners have six hours, or until noon the day after a nighttime snowfall, to clear sidewalks. If the snow falls on a Sundays, you have until noon Monday.
Lexington: Sidewalk clearing is required when more than 4 inches has fallen and your street has been plowed.
Luray: Any snow, sleet or ice shall be removed within 2 hours after the snow has stopped falling if this occurs between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Otherwise, it must be removed by 10 a.m.
Lynchburg: All snow shall be removed within 4 hours after snow has stopped. If snow ends during the night, sidewalks or footways must be cleared by 12:00 p.m. the following day.
Manassas: Residents have 12 hours after snow has ended to shovel their sidewalks.*
Manassas Park: Residents must clear their sidewalks during the first eight daylight hours after it snows.
Petersburg: Snow must be cleared within 4 hours after snow/sleet/ice ends, or by noon in the event of overnight snowfall, Sundays excepted.
Prince William County: Residents are encouraged but not legally required to shovel their sidewalks.
Martinsville: Section 19-20 of the City Code stipulates that occupants of the property (or the owner if the property is unoccupied) are responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of their property. This includes sidewalks in front of Uptown businesses.
Newport News: Snow must be cleared within 5 daylight hours after snowfall ends. Ice must be removed or covered with sand to prevent slipping within 4 daylight hours.
Norfolk: Owners or occupants are required to clear snow from adjoining sidewalks. Snow must be removed within three hours after snowfall has stopped. If snow falls after 3 p.m., it must be removed by 11 a.m. the following day.
Radford: Any property, improved or unimproved, which has a sidewalk of brick, wood or concrete abutting such property shall have all snow removed within 3 hours after it has stopped falling, or, if the snow falls overnight, by 10:00 a.m. the next morning.
City of Richmond: Sidewalks and public walkways adjacent to a property must be cleared within 6 hours after snowfall ends or by 11 a.m. in the event of overnight snowfall.
Roanoke: Citizens are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks adjoining their property within 3 hours after a snowfall ends or, if snow falls overnight, by 9 a.m. the next morning.
Salem: All snow shall be removed within six hours after the snow has stopped, unless the snow in question fell during the night, in which case it shall be removed by 11:00 a.m. the next morning.
South Hill: Where there is a paved footway or sidewalk, snow cannot remain along the front or side of such premises longer than 12 hours after snow has stopped. If the snow stops in the nighttime, it shall be cleared away by 10:00 a.m. the following morning.
Staunton: Residents and business owners must remove snow in front of their homes or places of business promptly. An owner or occupier of any property that borders a sidewalk must clear that sidewalk within 6 hours after the ice or snow stops.
Waynesboro: Residents and business owners are asked to refrain from clearing driveways until snowplows are finished. The city requires all snow to be removed from sidewalks or footways within 12 hours after street clearing has been completed.
Winchester: Property owners and occupants are responsible for clearing sidewalks of snow and ice in front of their building or home (City Code Ordinance, Section 26-15). For questions about the City’s snow/ice removal ordinance, please contact the Code Enforcement Division at (540) 667-1815.
Woodstock: The town has an ordinance in place similar to that of Luray, requiring property owners to remove snow within two hours of it no longer falling. If the snow stops overnight, it must instead be removed by noon the next day.
Wytheville: Any area in the town zoned for business or industry (except for a building or lot on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets) shall clear the snow/ice within eight (8) hours after it has ceased falling, unless it has fallen during the night, in which case it shall be removed by 4:00 p.m. the following day.