County wants to increase fines to snowplow blockers
Don’t block any county-maintained streets this winter or you’ll get plowed in the wallet.
Anyone not abiding the snow removal schedules by leaving their cars on the street may be charged a $200 fine in El Dorado County. The Meyers Roundtable voted on the fee Wednesday night and hopes the Board of Supervisors will approve the increase next month.
Supervisors John Upton and Ray Nutting couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. Both were attending a conference in Sonora.
Roundtable board members believe the current penalty of $35 is too lenient for the small community, which has a mix of private homes and vacation rentals. Compared to the city of South Lake Tahoe’s sanction, $102, Meyer’s fine is small peanuts.
“It’s time the county and the city be comparable,” said Sue Yang, roundtable chair. “I don’t think people are going to ever stop parking the cars at a time when they shouldn’t.”
When cars block snow removal routes, entire sections of a neighborhood can be left unplowed. Some vehicles are towed in extreme cases that tacks another fine to the car owner and causes a logjam at the county’s impound yard.
Under the proposed structure, the fines would be split between DOT and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. If approved, the group would like the DOT funds to be used for the purchase of more snow removal equipment and toward road repair.
“If we get a share, it’s possible that could help put more officers on the street,” said Lt. Fred Kollar, who will represent the Sheriff’s Department at the Meyers meetings.
The roundtable put the heat on the Department of Transportation over the summer to institute a snow removal grid zone. Last December, Meyers residents were buried under several feet of snow and had no way of communicating with DOT when help was on the way. Worries may be at ease this winter, even with the threat of El Nino, because people will be able to call a dedicated phone line that updates the plow’s progress every hour.
“It’s deceiving to see them working on a street next to your’s and then they never come,” said roundtable member John Trusdell. “With the telephone system in place, you enter your zone number and find out what’s going on.”
Yang also wants to alert property managers who operate vacation rentals about posting snow removal schedules inside the cabins. Normally advertised to sleep 10 to 15 people doesn’t necessarily mean that every tourist can have a car, added Yang.
“We need them to put up maps and rules for snow removal in the rentals,” she said. “Visitors come into town and they don’t know when to move their cars. And that is one of the problems we have to resolve.”
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