Herald JournalHerald Journal, Dec. 13, 2004

Defining snowfall is New Germany discussion

By Dave Cox
Correspondent

A blizzard of suggestions blew through the New Germany City Council meeting Tuesday without yielding a solution to the winter parking policy debate.

At issue is the city’s need to have streets cleared of vehicles so the plow operator can remove snow, coupled with the fact that not all residents have access to off-street parking.

Currently, no parking on the street is allowed after a 1-inch snowfall until streets are cleared. Residents also can’t park on the streets between 2 and 7 a.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31.

This policy has led to a variety of interpretations. Even among council members, there was no single interpretation.

At one point during the meeting, Eric Roepke, a city firefighter, was dispatched to the city shed to bring back one of the parking signs that had not been installed.

“Did we buy all these new signs and just not put them up?” Council Member Paul Roepke asked.

The sign read “Snow ban in effect when snow exceeds 1 inch. No parking on any New Germany streets.”

This led to further interpretations, and the question of whether the signs that are posted now are the same as those in the city shed. Discussion also revolved around whether the signs actually matched the current ordinance.

During the discussion, the council made it clear that it does not want to inconvenience people by prohibiting parking at times when there is no snow, but wrestled with the question of how to define when parking was and wasn’t permitted.

Council members seemed in consensus that prohibiting parking between the hours of 2 and 7 a.m. made sense because this would allow for plowing snow without interfering with those parked in front of businesses during business hours.

The council had more trouble when it tried to define whether 1 inch of snow meant an individual 1-inch snowfall or 1 inch of snow on the ground.

Council Member Steve Van Lith said even after streets have been plowed, blowing and drifting can occur any time there is snow on the ground.

The November to March timeframe was also called into question, because it is possible to get significant snow earlier or later in the season.

In the end, the council directed City Clerk Shelly Quaas to get more information about winter parking ordinances in other cities, and the issue was tabled until the next meeting.


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