Summit County to begin enforcing snow rules
January 6, 2015
Summit County officials are warning residents to adhere to the county’s snow removal rules or face citations and fines for being in violation of the ordinances.
The Public Works Department announced on Monday it would be actively enforcing Title 7, Chapter 3 of the Summit County Code, as it pertains to snow removal.
The ordinance states it is the "duty of all property owners to make arrangements for the storage of accumulated snow, either on their own premises, or on the premises of another private property with the permission of that owner."
Public Works Director Derrick Radke said private property snow removal is a county-wide problem every year.
"We have a lot of people that either remove the snow themselves or have a snow removal service that removes the snow from their driveway and then pushes it in the street and leaves it or across the street," he said.
County snowplow drivers reported two to three incidents of improper snow removal per route during the last snowfall, Radke said.
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"There are a couple of issues with that, one being the safety problem, especially if we’ve already cleared the roads," Radke said. "When they do that, it basically gives that snow to the neighbor down the street and just pushes the problem further down.
"We’re more interested in the safety issues," he added.
For those with a snow blower, Radke suggested turning the discharge to the side and away from the road. For snow removal services, Radke said snow needs to be pushed into the yard, rather than in and across the street.
According to the ordinance, it’s "unlawful for any person to deposit, haul, blow, push, or otherwise deposit accumulated snow within the right-of-way." The ordinance further states that property owners may be liable for damages or accidents resulting from snow deposited on the traveled roadway. The code defines the traveled roadway is as the width of the paved or graveled surface plus ten additional feet on either side of the surface.
The Public Works Department will start issuing citations for violations of the ordinance, noting that property owners can be held responsible for the actions of any person or company contracted for snow removal from their property, according to a press release.
The fines will be collected by the Public Works Department and appeals will be heard by the County’s Administrative Law Judge, the release stated. If the fines are not paid in the allotted time and an appeal is not requested, the citation may be criminalized, deeming snow removal violations a Class C misdemeanor.
A first offense snow removal violation is $50 and a second offense is $100.
The snow removal rules also regulate parking on county roads between Nov. 15 and April 15, which states street parking on any county road during those dates is illegal. The ordinance further states vehicles or other obstacles which hamper county snow removal operations will be towed or removed at the owner’s expense.
Additionally, the county will "not assume any liability for damage to vehicles parked on the street." But, coincidentally, damage to snow removal equipment from contact with vehicles which are illegally parked on the street will be the responsibility of the vehicle owner.
A couple years ago, the county had code enforcement personnel, but the Public Works Department hasn’t had the time or personnel to dedicate someone solely to code enforcement, Radke said.
"We are going try and get the word out so people will change their behaviors and we won’t have to go writing warnings and citations," he said. "We haven’t had a ton of snow, but as it starts stacking up, we have more and more problems. We hope to avoid this by getting the news out."
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