Citizens comment on snow policy

Photo by Anthony Guerrero  Public Works Director Rob Vance held the first of two public meetings on Wednesday, Jan. 30 to address concerns with the current snow removal policy 

MONTE VISTA— After Monte Vista experienced heavy snowfall over the last few months, it has brought new attention and interest from citizens to the city’s snow removal policy. To this end, Public Works Director Rob Vance scheduled two public input meetings to discuss possible changes and an update. The first of these gatherings was held on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
Around 20 community members gathered on Wednesday night to hear Vance explain the current policy and to provide their input on dislikes and recommended changes. Vance began by stating that he doesn’t believe the city’s current snow plow policy is working. “I think that we can do a better job,” he said.
“The nice thing about a snow removal policy is that it’s not one that’s mandated by federal or state rules. This is strictly a community policy and we can plow the way our residents want us to as long as it’s something we can afford to do. That’s the only stipulation,” said Vance.
He then shared a PowerPoint presentation that was a good overview of the current snow policy. Matters presented at the Thursday, Jan. 17 city council meeting were reiterated including that the point of plowing is to make it clear for emergency services to respond and that main and heavy utilized roads are the first priority.
After this presentation citizens were given the opportunity to chime in and ask any questions. Several citizens expressed frustration with the amount of snow plowed in some areas or lack thereof. They also complained that in some instances snow plows boxed in their vehicles or driveways and that after they shoveled snow plows would throw snow back on their paths creating difficulty.
A hot topic of conversation was whether snow on residential roads should be plowed to the curb as is the current practice or to return to an older model Monte Vista used to practice in which all snow is plowed to the center of the road and then hauled away. Vance explained that plowing to the center may create some issues such as forcing the city to haul the snow away, potentially causing some streets to become one-ways during storms and creating very narrow roads. Nevertheless, upon taking a tally of the present community members’ preference the majority stated they would like the snow plowed to the center.
Another important discussion that took place was enforcing the law against prohibited acts during snow storms such as shoveling snow back onto the streets and right of ways. Vance stated that the police department does not currently issue citations for such violations, but that may change with an update to the current policy. The future might be citizens receiving a verbal warning for a first violation and then a citation if they repeat the offense.
Vance thanked the community for attending the first meeting. He hopes to use the input provided to complete a rough draft of an updated snow removal policy to be presented to the city council at one of their February meetings.
Another public input session with Vance will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Monte Vista City Hall beginning at 6 p.m.

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