Park City storms: Falling snow leads to rising neighborhood tensions
The falling snow in Park City has led to rising tensions in the community.
The snowstorms have provided fine skiing conditions, but there have been reports of problems in neighborhoods as people continue to dig out. The Park City Police Department was summoned in several of the cases last week, illustrating the strain that the snow can put on a community during an exceptionally busy stretch of the ski season.
The Police Department logged cases involving claims that people moved snow onto someone else’s property, essentially adding to the amount of snow that the property owner must clear on their own.
In one of the cases, reported on Feb. 6 at 7:20 p.m., someone on Norfolk Avenue told the police a neighbor was moving snow into the caller’s driveway. The person told the police they attempted to talk to the neighbor, but the practice continued. Earlier on Feb. 6, at 4:40 p.m., the police received a complaint from Woodside Avenue that a driver of a private firm’s snowplow was seen pushing snow onto the caller’s property and into the street.
The Police Department on Feb. 7 at 3:37 p.m. were told of a dispute between neighbors on Daly Avenue that centered on snow removal and parking. The people were eventually separated, the police said.
On Feb. 4 at 1:05 p.m., meanwhile, someone on Meadows Drive reported a private-sector snowplow moved snow onto the caller’s driveway, making it difficult for the person to drive out. There was also a complaint on Ina Avenue, reported at 10:08 a.m. on Feb. 9, that someone was blocked into a driveway, apparently by plowed snow.
The cases are in addition to the numerous problems Park City drivers had on the roads during the storms. Numerous slide-off accidents and other problems on the roads have been blamed on the snow.
“People get frustrated. … The weather in general is complicating driving and keeping your sidewalks and driveways clear,” said Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain.
Kirk said the Police Department has received complaints about snowplow companies moving snow where it becomes problematic for someone else as well as reports of snowplow companies operating in the overnight hours.
“They’ll push the snow out of the contracted owner’s driveway, but they’ve got to push it somewhere. Sometimes that might impact one of the neighbors,” Kirk said.
He said the practice could lead to damage to a neighbor’s property. Kirk said in some of the cases someone hires a snow-removal crew and does not realize the workers move the snow onto a neighboring property. He said the Police Department typically resolves disputes by talking to the sides.
In rare cases, enforcement action is taken, he said. Charges could include counts of trespassing or vandalism. Kirk said none of the recent cases escalated after the initial Police Department response.
“Nobody wants to be a bad neighbor,” he said.
The issues could continue over the next week as snow is expected to continue. The National Weather Service forecast on Tuesday called for the possibility of more than two feet of snow in Park City through Friday with the chance of snow lingering through Monday.
Our view: The somewhat skeptical reaction to the news among residents shows the care the developer must take to ensure the project aligns with Parkites’ vision for the community.