I am writing this article to address the issue we have recently had with the snow emergency parking tickets issued.
I am writing this article to address the issue we have recently had with the snow emergency parking tickets issued. I am not writing this to anger anybody. My goal is to educate and help everyone understand the ordinance (law).
Our ideal snow emergency is one where we don’t have to tow any vehicles or write any parking tickets. I know people think we love writing tickets, but the truth is we do not. This ordinance was put into place five to six years ago, when the city kept getting complaints that the roads were not being completely plowed due to vehicles continually parking in unplowed areas. There were some meetings about this problem, and after weighing different options, the city enacted this ordinance to help get the town plowed correctly.
I was not the Chief then, so I do not know all that was discussed, but I do remember Chief Schueller telling me one option was to make all parking on any street illegal until the street was plowed after a snow emergency. The city’s ordinance was eventually changed to: no parking in the downtown district until it has been plowed; all parking everywhere else is allowed for 24 hours following a snow emergency—after 24 hours all vehicles must be moved to a cleared section of road and can’t park in an unplowed area. This was so the entire town could be cleared.
At the city council meeting on Tuesday (prior to publication of this article) this is on the agenda for discussion. I want to clarify what our Department is responsible for after a snow emergency is declared. I would like a discussion, due to the large number of complaints we received regarding this last snow emergency. Again, it is not our goal to write tickets but to allow the city to plow all the streets. If we don’t have this ordinance, then people don’t move their vehicles from unplowed areas, and the streets don’t get plowed. I would love it if everyone would just move their vehicles, but history has shown that just doesn’t happen.
If anyone has questions about this please contact me on Friday, Jan 12 or Sunday, Jan 14. I will be working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. those days.