Summit County code outlines snow removal policies
November 27, 2015
As the weather outside becomes frightful, Summit County officials say they would prefer educating residents about the county’s snow removal policies over issuing fines and citations.
Every year the county encounters several snow-related issues with property owners and drivers placing snow in the public right-of-way and on-street parking. Last year, Summit County officials threatened punitive action for property owners who violated the county’s ordinances. However, no citations were issued.
"We warned and talked to a few people, but it probably wasn’t as bad last year as it had been in previous years," said Derrick Radke, Summit County Public Works director. "People just need to be reeducated. We will start that way and if behaviors don’t change, we have the ability to cite if we need to."
Snow removal on private properties is at the property owner’s discretion. However, once the snow is removed the county code dictates where it can be placed. Title 7, Chapter 3 of the Summit County Code, states it is "unlawful to deposit, haul, push, blow or otherwise deposit any snow accumulated on private property within the traveled portion of the public street" and it is the duty of the property owner to make arrangements for its storage.
In previous years, county snowplow drivers have encountered several improper practices and usually place the blame on the same culprits, Radke said.
"What they do is they push the snow out onto the street and then leave a pile on the side of the road. Then it turns into an ice block and when our trucks come by and hit it the plows break," Radke said.
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The Summit County Public Works Department provides snow removal services county-wide, with the six municipalities setting their own regulations. Services are performed on a priority basis, with major county roads and school bus routes being targeted first. The county has a cooperative agreement with the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation district for the maintenance of commercial sidewalks throughout the Basin.
The county code prohibits parking on public streets from Nov. 15 through April 15 so as not to impede removal operations, Radke said. The ordinance states that vehicles illegally parked are subject to ticketing and towing at the owner’s expense. The county won’t assume any liability for damage to vehicles on the street, however, damage to the county’s equipment from contact with illegally parked vehicles is the responsibility of the car’s owner.
The Public Works Department collects all fines and appeals are heard by the county’s administrative law judge. A first offense violation is $50 and a second offense is $100. If fines are not paid or an appeal is not sought, the matter could be transferred to the Summit County Justice Court where it will be treated as a Class C misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
The Public Works Department doesn’t have an employee solely dedicated to enforcement and instead relies on staffers. Not enough snow has accumulated for the problem to become an issue again yet, however, the risk is there, Radke said.
"That’s why we try to educate more so than enforce, but it is a tool that is available if we have to use it," Radke said. "Everyone should just try to be courteous to your neighbors and the drivers on the road and it will be fine."
To view Summit County’s ordinances pertaining to snow removal, go to http://summitcounty.org/150/Public-Works.
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