Guest editorial |

Guest editorial

Summit County hooks vehicles, put homeowners in peril

Mike MacDonald
Alpine Acres, Summit County

I would like you to be aware of an incident that happened Jan. 2, on the road out of Oakley at the top of the Weber Canyon. Many cabin and homeowners who have property above the maintained road through the Thousand Peaks Ranch were up to their places for the long New Year’s weekend. There is very limited area to park vehicles and trailers at the top of the Weber Canyon were the county’s winter road maintenance ends. The only place to park is along the side of the road so many people parked cars, truck and snowmobile trailers on the north side of the road facing west and proceeded to their respective properties. Since it was a holiday weekend, there were more vehicles and trailers than usual.

Keep in mind there are no signs restricting parking along the road. In fact, there is a sign that directs cars to park on the north side of the road and trailers in an area off the road. We had a snowstorm on New Year’s night into Monday morning. Monday was the observed holiday and most people were heading down and home then.

Summit County road crews were plowing the Weber Canyon road that morning and encountered the many vehicles and trailers on the road. Apparently, there is supposed to be a county ordinance that prohibits vehicles from parking on a county road during a snow event. Again, there are no signs or notices of such an ordinance and nowhere else to park but on the road.

The County road crews contacted the Summit County Sheriff to have the vehicles removed or citations issued. The Sheriff went to the location and called several towing companies to impound the vehicles and trailers. No citations, warnings or notice of impound were issued and the vehicles and trailers were just hooked and gone.

For some of us it is a nine-mile trip, Either by snowcat, snowmobile or skiing to get to our cars from the unmaintained top of the road down to where the vehicles are parked. To our shock, upon completing the trip down from our cabins our vehicles were gone! No Sheriff, no notice of what happened — just gone. Some families with children were stranded without any way home or, more importantly, where there cars were and how to get them back. Snowmobilers were also stranded without a vehicle with trailer to put their machines on. All in all, over 20 vehicles were towed from the end of a road where traffic is minimal without one bit of communication, notice or warning!

People had to scramble to get rides down to where they could call the Sheriff to see what happened to their vehicles. In our case, our car was towed to Park City Towing at the US40 junction and it cost us $450 to get it out. Others had their vehicles towed to Kamas. When contacted, the Sheriff told my daughter the county was the one requesting the vehicles should be removed quoting the county ordinance.

We have had a home up at the top of the Weber Canyon for 30 years and have never seen anything like this before even on holiday weekends. This was not only completely wrong but put some people in danger being the weather and the remote location without cell service. In fact, it might have been illegal. The tow companies could charge whatever they wanted.

We all feel that Summit County should be there to support the people and not put them in peril. All of us who were affected by this feel a post in The Park Record would put the County on notice of how they treat their people.

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