Many of us have experienced the frustration of trying to go for a walk, run, or bike ride after a major snow storm, and finding that sidewalks and trails are inaccessible due to lack of snow removal. Property owner responsibility for snow removal on sidewalks varies within Prince William County, its unincorporated towns, and in the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Here we provide a summary of what the law requires in the various jurisdictions.
The various cities and townships within Prince William County area all require property occupants or owners to clear snow from sidewalks that are adjacent to their property1. Details vary on how long property owners have to accomplish this after the snowfall ends. The real news here is that Prince William County as a whole does NOT require sidewalk snow removal, which is in keeping with the policy (or lack thereof) of its larger neighbor to the North, Fairfax County. Similarly, they are not alone in their lack of response to the inability of pedestrians and cyclists to safely navigate our neighborhoods and along our streets after a snow storm. The Virginia Dept of Transportation (VDOT) owns most of the public road rights-of-way in Northern Virginia outside of incorporated cities, but they refuse to provide snow removal for any sidewalks2. If you’ve ever wondered why County schools are often closed for days on end after a substantial snowstorm, it is often due to lack of sidewalk access for students who walk, rather than any issue with buses navigating the roads.
The following is s summary of the local requirements to remove snow from sidewalks in the Prince William and Greater Manassas Area:
Sidewalk Snow Removal for Prince William County, Unincorporated Towns, and Greater Manassas
Required to Clear
|How long after snow
fall is clearing
|Prince William County||Not Required||n/a|
|City of Manassas||Yes||12 hours|
|City of Manassas Park||Yes||8 hours of daylight|
|Town of Dumfries||Yes||12 hours|
|Town of Haymarket||info not available||info not available|
|Town of Occoquan||Yes||12 hours or if after dark
by 5PM next day
|Town of Quantico||Yes||24 hours|
Prince William County
There is no legal requirement in Prince William County for property/business owners or residents to remove snow from sidewalks.
“We ask that people clear snow from their sidewalks so that there is a safe place for people to walk. Otherwise, children and other pedestrians end up walking in the street, which is not a safe alternative.” – link
City of Manassas
The city clears snow on sidewalks adjacent to city properties within 12 hours after snowfall.
Property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their properties.
Manassas Snow Removal Policy
City of Manassas Park
Occupants or homeowners of any property abutting a sidewalk, are responsible to clear their sidewalk within the first eight (8) hours of daylight following a snow/ice storm.
Town of Dumfries
Property owners are required to clear sidewalks adjacent to their property within 12 hours after the snow has ceased to fall.
Town Code – Removal of snow from sidewalks
Town of Occoquan
The occupant of any property that has a sidewalk abutting their property needs to remove snow and ice from it within 12 hours after it has ceased falling, or if it snows overnight, it should be removed by 5 pm on the next day.
Occoquan Snow Removal Policies
Town of Quantico
Owners or Tenants shall remove snow/ice from sidewalks in front of any business or property within the town within 24 hours of cessation of snowfall.
Quantico Code – clearing of sidewalks by business owners
Town of Haymarket
1 – As of the writing of this post, we have not been able to find any information online about their sidewalk snow removal policies and have not received a response from the town.
The town takes pride in its historical town center along Washington St., and the Haymarket Architectural Review Board Guidelines promote “a town center with a historical feel in which residents and visitors can walk, shop, eat, conduct business and relax.”