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Snow Removal Laws Surfacing & Stiffening

January 10, 2011, 6:20 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Snow Removal Laws Surfacing & Stiffening
WATERTOWN, SD - Piled snow has grabbed the attention of city councils and county commissions in northeast KELOLAND. There's so much built up already this year, they're cracking down on where people can put it all.

Community leaders have received complaints over the past couple years about people pushing snow into the street, ditches even onto their neighbor's property.

If you push snow into your neighbor's yard in Watertown, you'll probably make enemies. But you wouldn't necessarily be breaking the law.

An ordinance making its way through the city council would change that.

"Well I think theoretically it's a good idea. I wouldn't like people throwing snow on my yard either," Judith Fischer said.

But Fischer wants to know how it'll play out practically with so much snow piled up already.

If council members pass the law as it reads now, it will basically only allow a person to pile snow in their own yard, the boulevard or haul it away. Putting it in the street or someone else's property could come with a fine up to $200.

"Essentially it's putting common sense to law. And it's been precipitated by the amount of snowfall we've had this year and the last couple years," City Engineer Tom Drake said.

And the city of Watertown isn't the only one working to keep snow removal in line.

If you push snow onto a Codington County public right-of-way, the county will remove it and charge you $200 an hour. That rate increased during last year's heavy snowfall. Brown County considered stiffening the penalty for pushing snow in one of its right of ways. And the city of Aberdeen changed its law this year, making it illegal to put snow into the street before or after the plows come by. Violating that law could cost you $200 as well.

Back in Watertown, people could see the city’s proposed ordinance become law in a week. Fischer is waiting to see how it turns out as she eagerly waits for winter's end.

"I'm just very tired of it already and seems like we've just begun," Fischer said.

With all the snow sitting around, Watertown isn't wasting time with its ordinance either. The city engineer says the council might use an emergency provision that would make the law effective immediately should it pass.

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