Why Richmonders must clear sidewalks 6 hours after snowfall

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's been more than 48 hours since the final snowflakes fell in Richmond, and if you have not cleared snow from the sidewalk in front of your home or business, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

A city ordinance, first passed in 1993, requires all property owners to clear their sidewalks within six hours of snow stopping or by 11 a.m. the next day if it snowed into the night.  Violators can be charged with a class four misdemeanor, which is a fine of no more than $250 per Virginia law.

However, there are stipulations in the rule for those with a disability or the elderly.

Richmond Department of Public Works officials told CBS 6 they do not seek out violators; however, they'd rather property owners take care of the snow on their own and avoid citation.

The city did not have numbers on how many people have been cited in this storm, a DPW spokeswoman said.

Breean Stewart, a life-long Richmond resident, said most businesses in high foot traffic areas do a good job of quickly cleaning off snow from their sidewalks.

Still, Stewart said he noticed a few spots that still needed some shoveling.

"I'd say you need to get a move-on because you don't want somebody getting hurt in front of your business, and it is your responsibility," Stewart said.  "If you have a business, you have to take the responsibility to maintain your business, keeping people safe going in your business, and therefore your'e responsible for cleaning it."

Many sidewalks in the city were cleared by Wednesday, although sunshine over the past two days likely helped melt some accumulation.

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