New language in Wahpeton snow removal policy

Declaring a snow emergency in Wahpeton would apply when there is a storm where more than 8 inches of snow is forecast to fall, there is heavy drifting snow or another significant snow event occurs.

Wahpeton’s policies on snow removal, parking ordinances and the declaration of a snow emergency continue to evolve.

With a 3-0 vote, the Public Works and Safety Committee is recommending the city council have its first reading of Ordinance No. 1015 at its next meeting. Discussion of the ordinance, which amends current policies and includes a new policy on emergency declaration, came hours before the Twin Towns Area was forecast to receive blizzard conditions.

“There’s still time to look at the policy and think it over,” said Assistant City Attorney Brittany Hatting, who drafted the revisions.

Many of the amendments are minor, with revisions recognizing Wahpeton’s public works director or a designee rather than a city engineer, or similar specific language.

The policy concerning street cleaning, snow removal and temporary prohibition of parking is largely the same. Whenever it’s determined that Wahpeton’s streets, alleys or public ways need to be cleared of snow or ice, the ordinances regulating the parking of automobiles, trucks and other motor vehicles shall be suspended.

“It shall be unlawful for any automobile, truck or other motor vehicle to be parked and left standing on any street, alley or other public way,” the ordinance states.

New language streamlines the policy for issuing a public service announcement regarding the sweeping and cleaning of streets or marking of streets for traffic control. Notice shall be given by a public service announcement and all other reasonable means when the prohibition is in effect and when it is lifted.

“From and after the time fixed by such notice of declaration, it shall be unlawful for any person to park or leave standing on any street, alley or public way in the city any automobile, truck or other vehicle,” the ordinance continues.

The policy for posting signs in a notice area is largely unchanged, just specifying that the public works director or a designee may decide it’s feasible to do so. They may post signs in addition to issuing the public service announcement.

“(A sign would) bear a statement substantially as follows: ‘No parking in this block between the hours of ____ and ____’ or words of similar import,” the ordinance states. “It shall be unlawful for any person to park or leave standing in any block in which such signs shall have been posted, any automobile, truck or vehicle between the hours set forth in such notice.”

Declaring a snow emergency applies when there is a storm where more than 8 inches of snow is forecast to fall, there is heavy drifting snow or another significant snow event occurs.

“The public works director or designee, with the concurrence of the police chief and mayor, may suspend the ordinances regulating parking as provided by (the city of Wahpeton),” according to the ordinance.

Suspension would make it unlawful for vehicles to be parked on any street, alley or other public way.

The public works committee also voted 3-0 to recommend a revised policy on the cutting of snowpack and the widening of streets and alleys.

“Packed snow and ice that results in heavy rutting or irregularities and slush during melting conditions will be cut with motor graders,” the policy states. “Loaders will follow the graders to remove the resulting windrow from driveways within 30 minutes.”

Cutting operations will take place during the day to minimize possible damages to property or equipment. If needed, ideal conditions are present and determined necessary by the public works superintendent, cutting may take place at night.

Alley widening will immediately follow street widening where necessary.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 at City Hall, 1900 Fourth St. N. in Wahpeton.

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