Put simply, if snow is coming to Nevada, move your vehicles off city streets and out of city-owned parking lots.
On Monday, the Nevada City Council approved wording that more accurately states that there is no requirement for the city to let residents know a snow ordinance is in place. By city code, a snow ordinance is automatically in place when an inch of snow is received. The amount of snow was changed from half an inch to “an inch” as to when the ordinance goes into effect.
In the past, city officials, like the police chief and streets superintendent, have tried to give residents fair warning about snow ordinances going into effect. They’ve used things like Code Red — a system with many bells and whistles — that called residents.
But Code Red hasn’t been used in recent years because city personnel lacked enough staffing to keep up with the system’s complicated requirements.
The city has, in recent years, still tried to alert residents about the snow ordinance through its Facebook page, website and other news sources, but basically, Public Safety Director Ric Martinez said, many residents who get ticketed seem to have an excuse that they didn’t see that the ordinance was in effect or didn’t receive notice soon enough. But by ordinance, the city does not need to inform residents … and now the wording of the ordinance will make that very clear.
This year, Martinez said, “we’re going to post signs at the entrances to the city (reminding residents what the ordinance says). We’ll still try to post it (when it will be going into effect) on Facebook … but us posting it (that the ordinance is in effect) isn’t a requirement. We’ll do everything we can do to let people know, but we’re not going to say we have to (let them know).”
City Councilman Andy Kelly said, “At this point, people should know.” If there’s an inch or more of snow that’s coming, move your cars out of the way of snowplows or suffer the consequences — a ticket and a fine.
Mike Neal, street superintendent, said with Code Red, people thought nothing was happening unless they got that phone call. But by city ordinance, phone call or not, if it started snowing and got to the amount the ordinance said — which is now 1 inch — the ordinance would go into effect. “Common sense just couldn’t prevail,” Neal said, and he said putting out notices and trying to second-guess the weathermen was like chasing one’s tail.
“All we’re required to do is let people know there will be a snow ordinance,” Neal said. “It’s going to require some education for the public, but if snow is forecasted, get your car off the street…so we can do a better job (with snow removal for all).” He also added that getting cars off streets is for the safety of the city’s snowplow drivers.
Councilman Brian Hanson said there is a new app he uses for several things called “Remind Me.” He said it’s pretty cool, and all the person in charge has to do is send out one text and anyone who has signed up would get the text. But, he said, it still requires people to sign up.
Martinez said he could look at that app and other ideas, but bottom line, city code says if there is an inch or more of snow received, the snow ordinance will be in effect. Residents need to follow the forecast and take the initiative to move their cars when it’s snowing. It would also be wise for residents who generally park on city streets or city lots to make plans for where they can move their cars before the snow starts to fly.