Mount Carmel considering snow removal ordinance
MOUNT CARMEL - Melting snow banks and diminishing icy piles have not washed away the borough's efforts to develop a snow removal ordinance to address criticism that borough officials dropped the snowball after several major storms in February.
The complaints are not that simple to solve, Councilman Joseph Lapotsky said.
"We're never going to keep everybody happy, but we got to keep people safe and the majority of people content," he said.
The borough suspects private contractors may have caused as many problems as they've solved, said Lapotsky, who chairs the zoning and ordinance committee.
"We're trying to keep the contractors at bay, but we don't want to scare them away," he said.
While plenty of private contractors are great resources for the borough, Lapotsky said there are some who end up undoing the borough's plowing or push the snow to the corner of the block.
In some places, private contractors piled the snow so high, stop signs were buried. In other places, drains were covered. In some alleys, people couldn't get out their doors.
"It's not good. It's a hazard," Lapotsky said.
Homeowners are being cited for not clearing their sidewalks, but he thinks they should have a minimum amount of area to shovel so there's a place to put the snow, he said.
Council is also considering a requirement to remove vehicles from certain streets during snow storms, but that might prove complicated, Lapotsky said.
"I have mixed emotions on that. One side of me says, 'Hey, if there's snow, you move your car.' The other side says, 'There's an inch of snow; do we really want to trouble everybody for a minor snowfall?'" he said.
Right now, it's illegal to discard snow onto the street and homeowners have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks, Lapotsky said.
The committee of Lapotsky, Clem Plisiewicz and Dave Fantini will be meeting Sunday to discus the ordinance.
Lapotsky wants to invite Ed Fegley, former borough zoning officer, to take part in the creation of the ordinance.
They will be looking at Shamokin's snow ordinance, as well as other plans from other municipalities, to develop their own.
A final adoption of the new ordinance is expected in April, Lapotsky said.
The committee will also be developing a new Dumpster ordinance to address the number of large metal receptacles sitting around on streets taking up parking spaces, blocking snow plows and creating a bad aromas.