By Mallory Ragon
Bob Hartnett, deputy director of public works, presented an ordinance amendment, during February 18th Public Works Committee meeting, regarding snow obstructions in streets to the public works committee this week. The amendment is in response to very large heaps of snow being piled in traffic lanes, impeding the progress of city plows during winter weather events.
This is an increasing problem, with private contractors moving snow from commercial properties into the public right-of-way. It has not been an issue in residential areas: typical snow accumulation from a driveway, when moved into the street, is easily overcome by the city’s snow equipment.
On commercial lots, however, snow piled higher than a mid-sized car presents a problem for most snow plows. This practice has been causing problems both for the public works department in their snow-clearing efforts, as well as for other traffic on the roads.
The amendment would make it unlawful to plow or push snow into public roads within the city without written approval from the public works department.
Councilmember Rob Binney raised a concern that the new language could still be interpreted as including residential homeowners, though Hartnett asserted that residential plowing is not a concern and that the department would not be enforcing a requirement for written approval in those instances.
The amended ordinance received a recommendation for approval from the public works committee with a two-to-one vote, with Binney voting against and Councilmembers Brian Whitley and Bob Johnson voting for. It will go to the full city council for their consideration and vote.