City updates snow policy

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(Courtesy photo) Sandpoint city staff have been working on updates to the snow removal policy, which includes parking information for residents.

SANDPOINT — Snow is in the weekend forecast, and city staff have been working to update the city’s snow removal policy, which contains important parking information for local residents.

City Council members approved updates to the snow removal policy on Oct. 18, following an in-depth discussion of the changes during a Sept. 20 workshop-style meeting. The topic came about because the city has seen turnover of employees in the streets department. Three of the six employees are new this year, and although they do have snow removal experience, they do not have experience removing snow from Sandpoint streets, said Ryan Luttmann, the city's Public Works director.

"It's important to look at our snow removal policy so that those new employees coming in have a policy that sets the expectations we have for snow removal, but also this is a partnership with our community," Luttmann said during the Sept. 20 meeting.

Between the Sept. 20 workshop and the Oct. 18 meeting, Luttmann said the biggest change in the policy updates surrounded parking in the case of an emergency snow declaration. Luttmann and City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton have the authority to declare an emergency snow declaration if they feel conditions call for it. The declaration will last for 48 hours or until snow removal has been completed.

During that time, residents will need to follow the parking rules as per the updated policy, which states: During a snow emergency, vehicles on residential streets shall be parked on the even or odd numbered addressed side of the street. On even calendar days, park on the even side of the street until 5 p.m. On odd calendar days, park on the odd side of the street until 5 p.m. The change occurs at 5 p.m., so for example, as Dec. 1 is an odd day, vehicles will need to be moved to the even side of the street at 5 p.m.

“Residents should think, ‘Park for tomorrow,’” Luttmann states in the policy, as well as, “This section shall not be interpreted to allow on-street parking in areas where parking is otherwise restricted by existing signage or any other provision of City Code.”

Regarding non-emergency snow removal parking, Luttmann said removal is typically done before 6 a.m., so parking is prohibited in the downtown sector from 2-6 a.m. beginning Nov. 1. Snow removal will begin upon accumulation of two to four inches, and Luttmann said it takes approximately eight hours for staff to complete operations.

Questions or concerns regarding snow removal operations may be directed to the city’s Public Works Department at 208-263-3407 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or the city shop at 208-263-3428 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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