The Charlottesville Police Department, after a “grace period” to account for the two big snowstorms we’ve had recently, say that they have now “gotten tough” on businesses and homeowners who have not “removed snow from public sidewalks” under their domain – and have even issued summons for noncompliance.
It’s technically illegal to fail to remove snow on the sidewalks in front of your home once twelve hours have passed since the snow stopped falling — even though those sidewalks don’t belong to you.
Charlottesville’s Lieutenant Gary Pleasants states that most people complied once “warned.”
Police Chief Tim Longo said in January that ordinance wasn’t enforceable because the city of Charlottesville itself hadn’t cleared its walkways. At the time, even Chief Longo hadn’t shoveled his challenging sidewalk — though he now has.
Some citizens have voiced complaints about inconsistency and hypocrisy, though: “How about places where city plows decided to put 6 ft of snow on someone’s sidewalk? And what’s an elderly homeowner to do with 12 hours notice who now has over 1,000 cubic ft of snow to remove or face penalty?” said one. And another commented: “Perhaps the city should first take another look at their own sidewalks! I noticed yesterday that the sidewalks on 5th Street S.W. have not been done yet. In particular, the sidewalks behind the Prospect Avenue complex. People have to walk out in the roadway. The city also won’t clear the roadways. Melbourne Road has a left turn lane onto Rio Road that’s open. The right turn lane onto Park Street has a pile of snow about 200 feet tall. On Park Street turning onto Melbourne Road, the left turn lane is open. The straight through lane onto Rio Road is so narrow I am surprised many cars haven’t been sideswiped. Or maybe they have, I don’t know.”