Snow Removal Laws

Not every state has legislation governing snow removal, but for those that do, our research found it’s almost always illegal to plow, shovel, or otherwise deposit snow, ice, and slush into roadways.

For this guide, we only reviewed statewide laws and ordinances for states that had legislation. We did not include laws for cities and counties, which can vary greatly (even in the same state). Therefore, we recommend further researching your local county or municipality laws and ordinances for your specific area of jurisdiction. However, we did provide a sample of local county or municipality laws as examples in our guide below.


ALABAMA

No state or municipal snow removal ordinances.


ALASKA

Property owners should maintain their driveways and the approach roads to their properties.

Owner is responsible for snow removal: Around mailboxes, after any new snowfall after each storm, any berms or obstructions created by municipal snow removal activities. Landlords are responsible for keeping all common areas of their properties clear and safe for tenants. Snow should never be plowed or shoveled from driveways, approach roads or walkways onto highways or public roads.


ARIZONA

Arizona highway drivers should not park on highway shoulders to get out and play in the snow. Shoulders are for emergency parking only. Most of the snow that falls in Arizona is in Coconino County. The County does not plow private roads and will not remove berms created in driveways by Public Works snow removal activities. The County’s right of way for snow removal vehicles  is 30 feet from the center of the road.

Flagstaff City Code 8-03-001-0004: Property owners and occupants must properly clear snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their properties within 24 hours of a snow event. Snow should not be moved into city streets or alleyways. In winter, it is illegal to park on city streets and alleys where snow removal operations are taking place. Snow should never be plowed or shoveled from driveways, sidewalks or walkways onto city streets or alleys.


ARKANSAS

No state snow removal ordinances.


CALIFORNIA

California’s civil code regarding properties and rights and obligations of owners requires them to “maintain it in repair.” This includes snow removal when necessary to provide access to properties served by the easement attached or adjacent to it. As in most areas in the U.S., vehicles that are parked in snow removal zones on public streets are subject to being ticketed and towed.

South Lake Tahoe City Code 7.05.490 through 7.05.560

Snow removal from city streets in California without a permit is prohibited except for the removal of snow in front of a private driveway/walkway. Snowfall cannot be moved into a city street, should not block drainage structures, fire hydrants, signage, etc. Areas around mailboxes must be cleared. Property owners/occupants must remove clear walkways and sidewalks adjacent to the property within 12 hours of a snow event, and 24 hours if the duration of the snowfall is longer than 24 hours.


COLORADO

Colorado Revised Statute 43-5-301 

Residents in Colorado are responsible for clearing driveways and sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow event to allow safe passage by pedestrians. Shoveling or pushing snow onto public roadways is illegal.

The City of Denver requires immediate removal of snow by businesses when the snowfall has stopped, and residential properties are required to clear sidewalks within 24 hours. Fees up to $150.00 can be assessed. Most other towns and municipalities in Colorado have similar laws and ordinances regarding snow removal.  


CONNECTICUT

Connecticut does not have statewide snow removal ordinances, however,

CGS Sec. 7-148 allows municipalities to adopt laws requiring property owners to remove snow and ice on sidewalks with penalties for failing to comply. Under  CGS Sec. 7-163a, municipalities may also enact ordinances that will transfer liability for snow and ice on sidewalks to the adjacent property owner.

G.S. § 7-148(c)(6)(C)(v) As an example of typical snow removal laws in Connecticut, this ordinance requires residents/tenants in the Town of Darien CT to remove ice and snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a snow event. Snow should not be moved or shoveled into a public road.


DELAWARE

Delaware’s Department of Transportation (DelDOT) issued in 1995 a Sidewalk and Multi-Use Maintenance Policy. Section II indicates that DelDOT is not responsible for sidewalks that are owned by municipalities, privately owned, in subdivisions, or otherwise under a maintenance agreement with another party. DelDOT’s Complete Streets policy adopted in 2010 created a formal process for local governments in Delaware to adopt policies consistent with the State guidelines.

ARTICLE VII. Sec. 42-416 through 422 of Wilmington’s Code of Ordinances specifies that snow and ice removal must be completed within 24 hours of a snow event, including from gutters to prevent the formation of ice. Snow and ice cannot be pushed or shoveled into streets or roadways. Piles of snow and ice removed from parking lots cannot be piled above 5 feet high without City permission, and piles cannot be placed within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. Order of responsibility for a property is 1) Occupant, 2) Lessee, 3) Owner, 4) Agent.


FLORIDA

No state or municipal snow removal ordinances.


GEORGIA

Because most of Georgia does not see a lot of snowfall, there are no formal statewide snow removal ordinances. With climates changing, GDOT’s Winter Response Plan has increased the amount of snow removal equip

The City of Atlanta’s Code of Ordinances states in § 138-14 that the occupants and owners of homes and other establishments adjacent to sidewalks must remove ice and snow within a “reasonable time” after the snow event.


HAWAII

No state or municipal snow removal ordinances.


IDAHO

The State of Idaho’s Statute 67-2350 indicates that no county, city, or highway district is responsible for the removal of snow where they do not have jurisdiction.

The City of Boise’s code of ordinances (1952 Code § 9-08-07 2019) Code states that every owner of a building/vacant lot, church, jail, or public building is required to clear snow and ice from sidewalks and gutters adjacent to their property. During a snow event, this has to be completed by 9:00 am each morning and throughout the day. Most other towns and municipalities in Idaho have similar laws and ordinances regarding snow removal.


ILLINOIS

The Illinois 745 ILCS 75  Snow and Ice Removal Act is meant to encourage owners and occupants to clear sidewalks adjacent to their properties of snow and ice by providing immunity from liability for injuries caused by the dangerous conditions of the sidewalk.

The City of Chicago’s Municipal Code (4-4-310 & 10-8-180) indicates that property owners and occupants must keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice. The snow that falls between 7:00 am, and 7:00 pm must be removed no later than 10:00 pm, and snow that falls between 7:00 pm and 7:00am must be cleared by 10:00 am. Snow must be cleared for a 5-foot wide path on all sidewalks, including crosswalk ramps. Snow should not be shoveled or moved into the street. Property owners who neglect the responsibility for clearing their sidewalks after snowfall can be reported.


INDIANA

Indiana’s Code § 8-23-6-3 prohibits obstructing roadways, and pushing or shoveling snow could be considered an obstruction.

The City of Indianapolis’s City Code requires property owners and occupants to clear sidewalks adjacent to the property. A 5-foot wide path must be cleared. If the snow stops falling after 7:00 pm, snow and ice must be cleared by 9:00 the next morning. When the snow has stopped falling after 9:00 am, the sidewalk must be cleared by 7:00 pm. Snow should not be pushed into streets, crosswalks, alleys, or near fire hydrants.


IOWA

The State of Iowa’s Code for Powers/Duties of Cities, §364.12.b indicates that property owners are responsible for the removal of natural accumulations of snow and ice from sidewalks within a reasonable amount of time. Liability can be assigned to the owner for failing to remove snow and ice.

The City of Des Moines’s Municipal Code Chapter 114 indicates that parking on residential streets during snow removal is prohibited and vehicles may be ticketed and towed.  Residents must properly clear away snow and ice from sidewalks within 48 hours of a snow event. Snow should not be shoveled or pushed into the street or public right-of-way. Violators can be reported to the city.


KANSAS

Kansas State laws identify the property owner’s responsibility for the maintenance and repair of sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City of Topeka’s code 12.40.010 indicates that snow and ice must be cleared away from sidewalks within 48 hours of a snow event. If ice cannot be removed, placement of sand, cinder, or other material to help make the sidewalk passable can be considered compliance with the ordinance. Owners of multi-family, commercial, and nonresidential properties must follow the same rules. Snow cannot be pushed into the street or parking areas.  Most other towns and municipalities in Kansas have similar laws and ordinances regarding snow removal.


KENTUCKY

Kentucky does not have a state law for snow removal. However, owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City of Lexington-Fayette Code of ordinances, section 12-8.4, indicates that the owner of the property abutting any sidewalk should clear the sidewalk after any snow event with an accumulation of four or more inches, within twenty-four hours of the snow event. A walkway with accumulation that is endangering public health and safety is considered a nuisance and subject to fines and city abatement.


LOUISIANA

No state or municipal snow removal ordinances.


MAINE

The State of Maine has no specific law on snow removal, but §2396 indicates placing snow or slush on roadways is illegal.

The City of Portland’s City Code Sec. 25-172 indicates that residential property owners or managers are responsible for properly clearing away snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property, creating a four-foot-wide path. This has to be completed within 18  hours of the end of the snow event or 18 hours after the city has finished its snow removal. Owners of properties adjacent to a sidewalk containing a curb cut or leading to an intersection must clear snow to create a path four feet wide through the curb cut or to the curb at the junction for street and ADA ramp access.

Commercial properties are responsible for removing snow and ice from adjacent sidewalks within 12 hours of the end of snowfall, with the same requirements regarding curb cuts and ADA ramps. Areas of ice that are too thick or dangerous to remove must be sanded.


MARYLAND

The State of Maryland has no state law regarding snow removal. However, most counties and municipalities do.

Baltimore County’s Code § 18-3-107 indicates that any individual or institution occupying or using a residential, industrial or commercial building is required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to that property. Snow may not be shoveled into gutters or the street. If the responsible party does not remove snow and ice, the county will do so at the expense of that person or business. Additional unpaid expenditures will result in a lien on the property.


MASSACHUSETTS

The State of Massachusetts has passed a law applying to every property owner and landlord regarding snow removal. Additionally, towns may create bylaws and ordinances relative to snow and ice.

Massachusetts’ State Sanitary Code, Chapter 10 1001.3.1, indicates that exterior stairways and fire escapes must be kept free of ice, slush, and snow.

A landlord/property manager can only assign responsibility for snow and ice removal to a tenant if the dwelling has an independent means of egress, isn’t shared with other occupants, and the snow/ice removal requirement is in writing in the lease.

The City of Boston’s Snow Removal Ordinances require sidewalks and curb ramps of snow within three hours once the snow has stopped falling. A path 42 inches wide must be cleared. Snow and ice cannot be pushed or shoveled into the street. Each day that snow removal isn’t carried out is considered a separate violation.


MICHIGAN

The State of Michigan’s Vehicle Code prohibits snow, ice, or slush being shoveled or moved onto any roadway or highway. The code also prohibits the obstruction of visibility by piling snow too high, such as on the edge of a property, street corner, or other location that can block the view of the roads for motorists.

The City of Dearborn’s Sidewalk Snow Removal Ordinance (City Code, Sec Sec.13-2(32), Sec.13-71, 13-5.1)  requires residents and property owners to keep sidewalks and ramps to crosswalks clear of snow and ice. The City considers these areas unsafe if there are more than three inches of snow or ice present. Property owners and occupants have up to 24 hours after a snow event to remove snow and ice accumulations. Snow berms or accumulation on a property’s sidewalks thrown by a snowplow or other city snow removal operations is also the responsibility of the property owner.


MINNESOTA

The State of Minnesota’s Statute 160.21 regarding snow removal stipulates the extent that state road and transportation authorities will remove snow from both public and private land and properties. However, the State does not require municipalities to establish a sidewalk snow removal policy. Statute 160.2715 indicates that no snow or ice should be shoveled or otherwise deposited onto roads or highways.

The City of Minneapolis Snow Removal Ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after a snow event within 24 hours for single-family homes or duplexes and within four daytime hours for apartment and commercial buildings. Snow, slush, and ice should be cleared from the width of the sidewalk, at curb cuts at the corners, and crosswalk entrances to the street gutter. Snow and ice should be removed down to the bare pavement. The areas around garbage bins and mailboxes should be cleared as well. Free sidewalk sand is offered to Minneapolis residents.


MISSISSIPPI

There are no state laws or ordinances for snow removal in Mississippi.


MISSOURI

There are no state laws or ordinances for snow removal in Missouri.

The City of Columbia’s Code of Ordinances Sec. 24-12 indicates that all persons occupying or owning properties are required to keep the sidewalks adjacent to clear of snow, ice, and any other obstructions.


MONTANA

Montana does not have state laws regarding snow removal from a property. However, there are laws in place regarding the extent to which the State will remove snow and ice from roadways. For example, removal of snow on private approach roads is the responsibility of the property owner unless there are agreements in place for snow removal. Snow, slush, and ice should never be moved onto roadways or highways.

The City of Bozeman’s Municipal Code for Sidewalk Snow Removal indicates that every owner of property or land adjacent to a paved sidewalk is required to remove and clear away snow and ice by 9:00 am of the next business day, noon the next non-business day, or within four business hours of the end of the snow event, whichever is shorter. If the property owners do not maintain their sidewalks, the city will hire a contractor to complete the task at the expense of the owner.


NEBRASKA

Nebraska Revised Statutes – § 15-734 requires owners to maintain sidewalks in good condition, free from snow, ice and other obstructions. Cities may require owners to pay for maintenance if they fail to meet their obligation.

The City of Omaha’s Municipal Code indicates that it is the responsibility of the occupant and the owner of a property, a lot of land or other real estate to remove all snow, slush, and ice from sidewalks adjacent to the property within 24 hours of the City’s completion of snow removal operations. Fire hydrant, mailboxes, and mailboxes must be kept clear.


NEVADA

The State of Nevada has several statutes regarding a property owner’s responsibility for sidewalks. Statute NV Rev Stat § 266.275 (2013) indicates that cities and towns may require landowners to keep adjacent streets, sidewalks, etc. free from obstructions. NRS 278.02313 indicates local authority may require a property owner to undertake general maintenance of a sidewalk that abuts the property to include sweeping, snow and ice removal, removal of weeds, grass, and other growth encroaching on the sidewalk. NRS 118B.090 indicates that landlords of manufactured home parks are required to undertake maintenance of common areas, including snow removal. This includes sidewalks, streets, and sidewalks adjacent to streets within the park.

Washoe County’s Code 85.360-85.370 requires a property owner or occupant to remove all ice, slush, and snow from the sidewalks adjacent to their property, building, lot, land, or other real estate. Violation constitutes a misdemeanor. Property owners must keep their mailboxes clear.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

The State of New Hampshire’s law specifies that snow removal from sidewalks and parking areas is the responsibility of the community. Municipalities are required to repair and maintain sidewalks unless the owner whose property is adjacent to the sidewalk moved ice or snow onto the sidewalk.


NEW JERSEY

New Jersey does not have specific laws regarding snow removal from sidewalks around residential properties. However, commercial landowners are required to maintain abutting public sidewalks. Snow and ice should never be pushed or shoveled into roadways or highways. The snow that is collected during removal activities may not be dumped in waterways or bodies of water unless authorization from the Department of Environmental Protection is issued.

The City of Jersey City’s Snow Removal Regulations mandate that owners or managers of residential properties are obligated to remove snow from sidewalks adjacent to the property within 8 hours of the snow event. If snow fell during the night, it must be removed within 8 hours of sunrise. Owners or managers of commercial properties are required to remove snow and ice within 4 hours.


NEW MEXICO

The State of New Mexico’s 2015 Statute § 3-49-1 indicates that municipalities may require owners and occupants of any premise to keep the sidewalk adjacent to the property free from snow or any other obstruction.

The City of Santa Fe requires property owners to shovel sidewalks adjacent to their properties, including snow that has been pushed onto sidewalks by City snow removal operations.


NEW YORK

New York State does not have a law on snow removal, but the municipalities and counties do. Some cities plow their sidewalks, such as Rochester, NY.

The City of New York’s Administrative code indicates that every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or manager must clean slush, snow, and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their properties. If the snow stops falling between 7:00 am and 4:49 pm, snow must be cleared within 4 hours. Between 5:00 pm and 8:59 pm, snow must be removed within 14 hours. If the snow stops falling between 9:00 pm and 7:00 am, snow must be cleared by 11:00 am the next day. Snow should not be pushed into the street or crosswalks. The owner of a property adjacent to a fire hydrant is responsible for keeping the hydrant clear of snow. Residents have the option to report sidewalks that have not been cleared, and those who do not comply can face fines up to $350.00.


NORTH CAROLINA

NCDOT’s Snow Clearing Policy indicates that they do not remove snow and ice from sidewalks, driveways, or driveway entrances. North Carolina law does not currently allow towns and counties to compel owners to remove snow from sidewalks and driveways adjacent to their properties.

Some municipalities request it in their codes of ordinances. The Town of Chapel Hill requires that owners shovel their driveway aprons, but the Town clears sidewalks.


NORTH DAKOTA

The State of North Dakota’s Code 40-29-18 indicates that municipalities can charge property owners for the expense of removing snow and ice from sidewalks adjoining their property if the owners are not compliant with the municipal ordinance.

The City of Bismarck requires residents to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their properties, including the crosswalk of corner lots. Snow, ice, and slush must be removed within 24 hours of a snow event. Mailboxes, both single and cluster style, must be kept clear. Snow should be cleared 3-4 feet around hydrants. Dumpsters and trash cans should also be kept clear by the owner to ensure their waste is emptied during winter months. Snow must never be pushed or shoveled into the street.


OHIO

The State of Ohio does not have laws mandating snow removal of natural accumulations. However, most municipalities and cities have ordinances requiring it. Additionally, if the efforts to remove the ice and snow have made the sidewalk or walkway more hazardous, the property owner may become liable.

The City of Dayton’s Code of Ordinances, Sec.95.17-18, requires the owner or occupant of every parcel of real estate abutting a sidewalk to keep it clear of snow and ice, clearing it within 12 hours following a snow event.  If the occupant or owner does not comply, the city may remove the snow and ice and assess the fee against the property.


OKLAHOMA

While the State of Oklahoma does not have specific laws regarding snow removal, most municipalities and cities do.

The City of Bartlesville, for example, requires snow to be removed from driveways and sidewalks.


OREGON

The State of Oregon places the obligation to clear sidewalks and property access on the property owner. Municipalities and cities have more specific ordinances regarding the amount of time a property owner has before being cited.

The City of Portland’s City Code 17.28.025 indicates property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks abutting or adjacent to their land, structure, or residence. Full liability rests with the property owner/occupant if a person is hurt due to their failure to remove snow and ice. They will also be liable to the City for any amounts paid or incurred consequent to judgment, settlement, or claims, investigation costs, and attorney fees.


PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania State Law indicates the local municipality or property owner is responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks.

The City of Philadelphia’s Code 10-720 requires the owner, agent, or tenants to clear a path of at least 36″ wide on all sidewalks, curb cuts abutting the building within 6 hours of a snow event. Multifamily dwellings require the property owner/landlord to assume responsibility for the snow removal. Snow or ice should never be pushed or shoveled into the street.


RHODE ISLAND

In Rhode Island, property owners are expected to clear off sidewalks after a snow event, and the state grants municipalities and towns authority to enact more specific ordinances. The Rhode Island Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Section 34-18-22 sets out the requirements for landlords to maintain common areas, including sidewalks, steps and parking lots safe for their tenants, to include snow removal.


SOUTH CAROLINA

No state or municipal snow removal  ordinances


SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota does not have a state law regarding snow removal, but most municipalities do.

The City of Sioux Falls Code § 96.100  to § 96.105 indicates that the owner or occupant is required to remove any snow or ice from the sidewalk within 48 hours of the snow event. Snow must not be pushed or shoveled into the street after the City has completed snow removal operations. Any sidewalk which ends at an intersection or crosswalk must also be cleared to the edge of the street.


TENNESSEE

The State of Tennessee does not have a law compelling owners to remove snow and ice from their properties and sidewalks, provided the snowfall accumulated naturally. Municipalities and cities have more specific ordinances.

The City of Knoxville’s Nuisance Ordinance indicates that property owners/occupants have 24 hours after a snow event to clear sidewalks of snow, debris, or ice.


TEXAS

The State of Texas has no state law regarding snow removal, but some municipalities do.

The City of Dallas Code of Ordinances Volume 2, Article VI Sec. 43-96 mandate every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant of any building or lot adjoining a public way or place to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk abutting their building or lot. Snow and ice, which accumulate before 4:00 pm during any day except Sunday, must be removed within 3 hours. Snow or ice which has fallen on a Sunday or after 4:00 pm must be properly cleared away before 10:00 am the following day. If ice cannot be removed, it can be sanded, salted, or dirt thrown on it.


UTAH

The State of Utah has no state law regarding snow removal. However, most counties and municipalities do. Unless UDOT has a written agreement, the State will not remove snow from sidewalks, overhead crosswalks, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and pedestrian trails.

The City of Provo requires residents to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their homes and around mailboxes within 24 hours of a snow event. Snow, slush, and ice should not be pushed or shoveled into the streets or gutters.


VERMONT

The State of Vermont does not have state laws regarding snow removal. Local municipalities do, and many of these towns are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks within their jurisdictions.

For example, the City of Burlington removes snow and ice from city streets and sidewalks but has specific rules about property owners being responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of trees, shrubs, mailboxes, fences, and other landscaping.


VIRGINIA

Virginia does not have general laws regarding snow removal. However, most municipalities do. Landlords are responsible for removing a natural accumulation of snow and ice from walkways and sidewalks.

The City of Arlington’s Snow Removal Ordinance mandates property owners clear snow and ice in a path up to three feet wide or the entire width of the sidewalk within 24 hours of the snow event, and within 36 hours if more than 6 inches of snow accumulated. Shoveling or depositing snow on streets or other sidewalks is a misdemeanor.


WASHINGTON

The State of Washington has a law requiring all homeowners to clear sidewalks adjacent to the property within 24 hours of a snowstorm. Landlords are required to keep common areas safe and in good repair, removing snow and ice.

The City of Seattle is responsible for many sidewalks and pathways not owned by private owners. However, property owners are responsible for removing slush, snow, and ice on sidewalks adjacent to their properties.


WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia does not have a law regarding snow removal. Cities and municipalities do.

The City of Wheeling’s ordinance regarding snow removal requires property owners to shovel snow in the first 24 hours after a snow event. Failure to comply will result in a $175.00/hr charge to remove the snow and ice.


WISCONSIN

The State of Wisconsin does not have a state law regarding snow removal. Municipalities and cities have more specific ordinances.

The City of Milwaukee’s Sidewalk Snow Removal ordinance requires private property, residential, or commercial property owners and occupants clear away snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their properties within 24 hours of a snow event. For those properties on corner lots, the owner must also include the corner crosswalk area. Residents who are physically unable to properly clear their walkways may apply for assistance. For snow accumulation of 4 inches or more, the City will clear corner crosswalks.


WYOMING

The State of Wyoming does not have a state law regarding snow removal. Some municipalities such as Casper remove snow from sidewalks for property owners, and others have laws requiring the owner to remove snow from sidewalks.

The City of Cheyenne’s City Ordinance 8.60.090 considers snow, ice, or slush on sidewalks a nuisance, no matter what kind of property is adjacent to the sidewalk. Owners of property adjacent to the sidewalk are required to remove ice, snow, and slush from it within 24 hours of the snow event. Pushing or shoveling snow into the street is also considered a nuisance.