City Council Rescinds Snow Removal Ordinance

An ordinance prohibiting snow being removed from private property onto city streets, approved in November, was rescinded Monday night by the City of Warsaw Common Council.
But an ordinance fining drivers for driving through plowed snow was approved on first reading. The second and final reading for ordinance 2016-01-03 will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 16. Under the ordinance, a person driving through snow placed for removal will be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second and subsequent violations.
In November, the council approved ordinances 2015-11-04 (prohibiting driving through plowed snow) and 2015-11-03 (prohibiting moving snow from sidewalks, driveways or parking lots onto city streets). At the Jan. 19 meeting, an amendment to the snow ordinances setting fines for the violations was tabled at Mayor Joe Thallemer’s request so the council could consider rescinding 2015-11-03.
The snow removal ordinance 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.”
Thallemer presented the council Monday with Ordinance 2016-02-01, rescinding the snow removal ordinance. It does not rescind the “driving through plowed snow” ordinance, he stated.
“We had some discussion. I suggested at the last meeting that this was something we could accomplish without fines and more ordinances,” Thallemer said. “We know the reasoning behind this, it’s because we’ve got over 200 lane miles that need to be cleared every snow storm. And it needs to be done as efficiently as possible, and as safely as possible. And some of the concerns – snow getting pushed onto the road after the plowing has been done – I think we can address that, again, without any ordinance, without any fines, but with just some cooperation with the city and the community.”
He said he spoke to Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler about the issue and assured him that he has the city’s full support when Beeler is dealing with those individuals to work out a solution.
“I’m the one that asked to have this rescinded because I have discussed this with many folks, including Jeff, and I feel like I’m tossing this back to you with my recommendation to rescind that portion,” Thallemer said.
He said there was full support for the street department and for everyone taking care of their own snow.
“But where there are difficult situations, we’ll work together and try to work it out for the benefit of the entire city,” Thallemer said.
Council President Mike Klondaris asked, “You feel without an ordinance we have something in the toolbox to discourage people from pushing snow out afterwards?”
“Yes, I do,” Thallemer responded.
Klondaris made the motion to approve the ordinance, with the second provided by Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins. After it was unanimously approved, city attorney Mike Valentine indicated a second reading was not required for the ordinance since it was just rescinding a previous ordinance.
The council then approved, on first reading, Ordinance 2016-01-03, which set fines for people driving through snow placed for removal.
Prior to the snow ordinance discussion Monday, the council also approved, on second reading, ordinances increasing the Traffic Safety Commission from seven to nine members and parking restrictions for the city hall lot.
The Traffic Commission ordinance 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 city hall lot 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.