City Considers Repeal of Snow Ordinance

An amendment to a snow ordinance approved in November was tabled by the City of Warsaw Common Council Tuesday so it could discuss next month whether it should vote to rescind the original ordinance.
Ordinance 2016-01-03 would amend ordinances 2015-11-04 and 2015-11-03 regarding driving through plowed snow and moving snow from sidewalks, driveways or parking lots onto city streets. The amendment would add a $50 penalty for first offense of the original ordinances approved in November and $100 on second or subsequent violations.
Mayor Joe Thallemer told the council, “These were some amendments that, after reading through the original ordinance, were found to clean that up a bit. Having a little bit of time to consider that ordinance, which was passed back in November, I want to reflect a little bit with where we’re at with this ordinance.”
He said the intent of the original ordinance – which stated it “shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to place or permit snow removed from any sidewalk, driveway or parking lot to be placed, shoveled, plowed or discharged upon any street in the city, unless authorized by the public works superintendent of the city” – was to aid the city’s workers and equipment in removing snow from the downtown business district and the entire city in the fastest and most expediate manner available.
“The city is responsible for plowing over 210 lane miles of road. Aggravating the task is heavy volume of snow, multiple snow falls in a short period and the issue of snow being pushed out into the street interferes with this timely snow removal for the entire community, while also posing safety hazards when independently deposited,” Thallemer stated.
He said the intent of the ordinance was to reduce interference on the “very methodical process” that affects the “very timely clearing and the safety of snow removal, not just for the entire downtown, but for the entire city as well. And not just a single business.”
Thallemer continued, “I do not feel the ordinance approved two months ago is the best way to accomplish this. Tonight, I’m introducing an ordinance to rescind that portion of the ordinance that deals with discharging snow into the street.
“We’ve talked to the businesses. They understand that we have 210 miles of road to plow for over 14,000 residents, and they expect their roads to be opened as quickly as our central business district. We asked our businesses to work with our street department to facilitate rather than hinder the snow removal process. We ask that snow be shoveled to the edge of the sidewalk to create an adequate open passage of pedestrian traffic, if possible, depending on the amount of snow. We ask our business and industry partners to facilitate their own snow removal from their property.
“I don’t feel like we need fines and rules to accomplish this in our city. We worked too hard to improve our downtown, to improve our parking and to encourage commercial and residential development. We need everyone to work together. I’m confident that our business can work with our wonderful street department to find solutions and collaborations rather than fines and ordinances.”
He asked the council to table the ordinance amendment discussion and be prepared to discuss the rescinding ordinance Thallemer introduced Tuesday at its Feb. 1 meeting.
The ordinance rescinding Ordinance 2015-11-03 states in two lines that 11-03 is rescinded and is in full force and effect from and after its passage.
Thallemer also asked the council to retain the ordinance that states “It shall be unlawful for any person to drive any vehicle through snow that has been placed upon the street for removal by the department of public works.”
“I think it’s a good idea to table it so that everyone can be here,” Councilwoman Diane Quance said. Only four of the seven councilmen were present Tuesday as the other three were at a state meeting.
Councilman Mike Klondaris made the motion to table the issue, and Quance provided the second. It was tabled by a vote of 4-0.
The council Tuesday also approved two ordinances on first reading that were unanimously passed by the Traffic Safety Commission Jan. 6. The second reading will be given at the council’s Feb. 1 meeting so that all seven members of the council can weigh in on them.
The first ordinance approved increases the voting membership of the Traffic Safety Commission from seven to nine. It makes the city planner the representative from the Plan Commission and changes his position on the board from non-voting to voting. The street superintendent also changes from an ex-officio member to a voting member.
The other seven members of the Traffic Commission are two citizens of the community, two members of the Common Council, two representatives of the Warsaw Police Department and a representative of the school corporation.
The other approved ordinance creates permit-only parking for the city hall parking lot on weekdays during business hours. The exception is the row closest to Center Street, which will provide for free two-hour parking. The city’s parking control officer will monitor the parking lot and issue tickets as necessary.
Klondaris asked if some sort of tag would be issued as parking permits for city employees’ vehicles. Thallemer said they already have them.

(Story By The Times Union)