Tips & AdviceSnow Removal Laws by State

Snow Removal Laws by State

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As winter approaches, it’s essential to be aware of the snow shoveling laws in your state. Many states have specific regulations about when and how property owners must clear their sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice. Failing to comply with these laws can result in fines or other penalties.

This blog post will provide a detailed overview of the snow removal laws in each state across the country.

What to Know About Snow Removal Laws

Snow removal laws can bring up many questions for homeowners. Who is responsible for removing snow? Do you have to shovel your sidewalk or just your driveway? What happens if you don’t shovel your sidewalk? Is it illegal to shovel snow into the street? These questions are important to consider as we enter the colder months.

The answers to these questions shift state by state. Even some cities and towns have their own specific rules about how to remove snow.

You’ll need to check with your homeowners’ association (HOA), city, municipality, or state to see what you must take care of and what your local government removes on your behalf.

As frustrating as it can be to get out there and follow ordinances when you’d rather sip cocoa by the fire, proper snow removal helps ensure the safety of neighbors and community members. To help get your research started, we’ve rounded up a state-by-state list.

List of Snow Removal Laws by State

Alabama

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Alabama.

Alaska

AAC 10.020

Property owners are responsible for removing snow from driveways. It is illegal to push snow into the road.

Arizona

8-03-001-0004

In Flagstaff, Arizona, property owners must keep the sidewalks adjacent to their homes free of snow and ice within 24 hours of the weather event.

Additionally, property owners are not permitted to move snow onto city streets or alleyways.

Arkansas

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Arkansas.

California

CVC 23112 and Section 724

In many counties, property owners must clear their driveways and berms at driveway encroachments from public maintenance. Property owners are not permitted to move property snow to the roadway or on a public right-of-way.

Colorado

43-5-301

Property owners must keep the sidewalks adjacent to their homes free of snow and ice within 24 hours of the weather event. Additionally, property owners are not permitted to move snow onto city streets or alleyways.

Connecticut

§ 279-19

In Manchester, property owners must clear their property and sidewalks along their property line within 24 hours of a snowstorm.

However, property owners are not permitted to lay, throw, blow, place or plow on or into any public sidewalk, street, or right-of-way.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Delaware

§ 183-54 and § 183-55

In Milton, property owners must clear snow higher than two inches from the sidewalks connected to their property and any privately owned street within 24 hours of snowfall ceasing. Property owners are not permitted to move snow onto city streets or alleyways.

The state will also help to remove snow and ice on municipally owned sidewalks after they clear primary roads.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Florida

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Florida.

Georgia

§ 138-14(a)

Property owners must clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property within a reasonable time. The regulation does not clarify the length of a reasonable amount of time.

Hawaii

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Hawaii.

Idaho

1952 Code § 9-08-07

Property owners must keep the sidewalks adjacent to their homes free of snow and ice.

Additionally, owners of vacant lots, churches, jails, and public buildings in Boise must clear the sidewalks and gutters in front of the property by 9:00am every day, so they are clear to use during business hours.

Illinois

745 ILCS 75/1 Snow and Ice Removal Act

The law encourages Illinois residents to remove snow and ice from their property, but doesnot legally require them to do so. Additionally, the law protects property owners from liability should someone injure themselves from snow and ice on their property.

Indiana

Indianapolis Snow Removal

Property owners in Indianapolis must clear snow and ice from sidewalks by 9 a.m. following snow falling ceasing at 7 p.m. the night before.

If the snow does not stop falling until after 9 a.m., property owners must to clear their sidewalk by 7 p.m. the same day or risk a $50 fine.

Property owners must also keep the area of about 15 feet around mailboxes clear for mail carriers or clear a walkway for mail carriers to the door.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Iowa

Des Moines City Ordinance 7-1-5

Property owners must keep the sidewalks, crossing alleys, crosswalks, and driveways along their property lines free of snow and ice within 24 hours of a storm ending.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Kansas

City of Lawrence Ordinance Number 8324

In Lawrence, property owners are responsible for clearing driveways, sidewalks along adjacent property lines, and mailboxes. If a snowplow pushes snow from the street into these areas, the property owner is still responsible for clearing. Snow and ice must be cleared within 48 hours of a winter storm or face a $20 fine.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Kentucky

1999 Lou. Code, § 97.113

In Louisville, property owners and corporations must keep the sidewalks adjacent to their homes free of snow and ice within 24 hours of the weather event.

The owner or agent is still responsible for clearing any regions abutting a public street if uninhabited.

Owners must deposit removed snow on private property or public driveways 12 inches from the curb.

Louisiana

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Louisiana.

Maine

30-A MRS §3009(A) and §§ 25-171–25-190

Currently, no universal state laws for snow removal in Maine exist.

However, in some counties, property owners must clear snow and ice from adjoining streets within 12 hours of a storm ceasing, such as Portland, Maine, or risk a $75 fine for first-time offenses.

Maryland

Rockville City Ordinance Number 20-10, amendment Section PM-303.3

Property owners are responsible for clearing driveways and sidewalks abutting city streets. Some cities base the timeline of snow removal on the amount of snow.

For example, a property owner has 24 hours for 3 inches of snow, 48 hours for 3-9 inches, and 72 hours for 10 inches or more in Rockville. Failure to comply may result in a Class C Violation, a $50 fine.

Massachusetts

MGL c. 40, § 21 (2), (3), and (4)

Massachusetts code allows cities to create specific ordinances related to snow removal.

Generally, property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from their properties, including walkways, driveways, entrances, and sidewalks. Property owners should check with their city or town to clarify their snow removal regulations.

Michigan

Act 300 of 1949 257.677a

Property owners must remove snow and ice from their properties and may not remove the snow onto the roadway or its shoulder. Property owners have 24 hours from the weather ceasing to clear snow or ice. Those who violate the regulation will pay a fine that does not exceed $100.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Minnesota

160.21 and § 70.49 in Braham

Minnesota law defers to localities to determine snow removal laws. However, the state does not require that a locality have or enforce a snow removal policy. Road authorities in Minnesota are allowed to call upon each other to assist with snow removal. Residents can hire road authorities to remove snow from their private property.

Some cities like Braham require snow removal within 24 hours from sidewalks or property owners face a fine.

Mississippi

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Mississippi.

Missouri

Kansas City Municipal Code (Sec. 64-246)

Property owners must keep their properties and any streets, boulevards, or highways in front or along property lines free of snow and ice. The law does not specify details on violation fines.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Montana

Helena 7-8-1

Property owners must clear any public rights-of-way abutting their property. Furthermore, residents must clear the snow by 9:00 a.m. the next business day, 12:00 p.m. the next nonbusiness day, or four business hours after a snowfall, whichever is shortest.

Property owners who fail to clear sidewalks risk paying a $50 fine or 30% of the costs for city removal, whichever is greater.

Nebraska

15-734

Property owners are required to maintain their own properties, including adjacent public sidewalks. Failure to do so will make the property owner liable for any injuries or damages.

Nevada

85.360

Property owners must keep their properties, including gutters, curbs, and adjacent sidewalks, free of snow.

New Hampshire

RSA 231:113

Private roads and driveways must be cleared by property owners. Municipalities are responsible for public roads, including abutters with adjacent public road sidewalks.

In this case, property owners are not responsible for snow removal unless they cause the problem. For example, they blew snow from their yard onto a public street. Then, they may be liable.

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 39:4-207.9

Property owners are required to clear accessible areas within 24 hours of a snowfall ceasing. Failure to remove snow and ice can result in a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000.

New Mexico

City of Sante Fe Code 23-1.8

In Santa Fe, property owners are responsible for keeping their sidewalks clear of snow.

If a snowplow pushes snow from the street onto the private property or sidewalks, the property owner is still responsible for clearing after each snowstorm.

New York

§ 16-123

New York City snow removal law states that a property owner, lessee, tenant, or occupant must clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their properties.

The timeline is dependent on the time that snow stops falling. If snow stops falling between 7:00 a.m. and 4:49 p.m., someone must clear the snow within four hours. If snow falls between 5:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m., someone must clear the snow within 14 hours. Someone must clear overnight snowfall by 11:00 a.m. the following day.

Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $350 per citation.

North Carolina

North Carolina does not require snow removal on a state-wide basis and does not require cities and towns to create their own laws.

North Dakota

Ordinance 2-0121

In West Fargo, property owners must clear adjacent sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours of a storm ending. They must also remove snow from a sidewalk that intersects with a driveway or crosswalk. If the city must remove the snow for a property owner, the property owner must pay the cost.

Additionally, property owners cannot deposit snow on the street. They will face a fine of up to $500.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines, as regulations may differ.

Ohio

Columbus City Code Section 902.03

There are no state laws on snow removal in Ohio. However, some cities, such as Columbus, have city codes that clash with this precedent.

In Columbus, property and business owners must clear adjacent sidewalks of snow and ice. Moving snow into the street is not permitted.

Oklahoma

Chapter 113 and Chapter 114 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code

Localities may determine snow removal laws. In St. Paul, property owners and managers must clear sidewalks of snow and ice adjacent to their property within 24 hours.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Oregon

Portland 17.28.025

Portland law states that property owners or occupants must clear snow and ice from land adjacent to their property. Property owners and occupants accept responsibility for any injuries sustained due to failure to remove snow or ice adjacent to their property.

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh City Code 419.03

Localities may determine their snow removal laws. In Pittsburgh, property owners must clear snow and ice from sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow event. Those who fail to remove snow within 24 hours receive a $200 fine.

Rhode Island

Providence City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17

Localities may determine their snow removal laws. In Providence, property owners must clear snow and ice from sidewalks, catch basins, fire hydrants, and pedestrian ramps adjacent to their property within eight hours after the snowfall stops.

Failure to do so may result in a fine ranging from $25 to $500. Residents also may not place snow on the street.

South Carolina

Sioux Falls § 96.100 Duty to Remove Snow

South Carolina does not have any state-wide laws regulating snow removal. However, some cities place additional guidelines.

In Sioux Falls, a property owner must keep sidewalks free of snow and ice within 48 hours after snowfall ceases. Owners cannot deposit snow onto sidewalks or parks or any area that interferes with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

South Dakota

Rapid City Municipal Code, Ordinance 12.12.090

Localities may determine their snow removal laws. In Rapid City, a property owner must clear the snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property. It is also illegal to place snow on any public property without written consent.

Tennessee

Nashville City Ordinance 13.32.040

Localities may determine their snow removal laws. For example, in Nashville, a property owner must clear the snow from sidewalks directly in front of their property to avoid liability.

Texas

Chapter 43, Sections 43-96 through Sections 43-98.2

Currently, there are no laws on snow removal in Texas. However, localities may determine their snow removal laws.

In Dallas, a property owner or other occupant must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property. Owners must remove snow within three hours after accumulation if it stops before 4:00pm, except on Sundays. If snow falls overnight, owners must remove it by 10:00am the following day.

Utah

Salt Lake City Code 14.20.070

In Salt Lake City, businesses and residents must remove snow on sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a snowstorm.Residents must remove snow from the entire width of the sidewalk, including ADA ramps that lead to the street.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Vermont

Burlington City Code 27-86

There are no state laws that require residents remove snow. Burlington law states that property owners must remove snow from an awning or shade within four hours after the snow stops falling during the day. If the snow stops in the night, they must clear the awning or shade by 12:00pm the following day.

Vermont residents should check with their local government to learn about regulations.

Virginia

§ 15.2-2000

Counties can determine their snow removal laws, including time limits as determined by subsection A of § 15.2-2000. Virginia law also caps fines for failure to clear at $100.

Private persons cannot remove ice from public highways. However, property owners are generally responsible for snow removal on their property.

Washington

AGO 55-57 No. 195

Washington State allows cities to determine their own snow removal laws and fine residents who do not comply.

Seattle Municipal Code Sec. 15.48.010 states that owners must remove snow within a timely manner.

West Virginia

Morgantown City Code 913.11

Many cities in West Virginia regulate snow removal. In Morgantown, residents must remove snow from the sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours after a snowstorm ends.

Check with your county for specific snow removal guidelines.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Statute 66.615 and Chapter 4.09 of Municipal Code

Property owners must clear the entire width and length of adjacent sidewalks of snow and ice. Owners have 36 hours to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks.

Wyoming

WY Stat § 15-4-311 (2017) and 15-4-311

If property owners fail to remove snow from their sidewalks, the city will remove the snow and place a lien on the property for the cost of the snow removal.

Conclusion

The federal government does not regulate snow removal on a wide-scale basis, and many states leave their snow removal regulations up to individual towns and cities. Property owners should conduct their research to determine the laws in their area before the season’s first snowfall.

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