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Time for winter ordinances

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 9:37 a.m. CST

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The completion of this article means only one thing — winter is imminent. For most of us, it seems this isn’t really good news. However, we have made the choice to stay here, so we must be willing to tolerate it, at least.

During the winter, many of us like and need to stay abreast of weather forecasts and current road conditions.

Here in Osceola, when the snow emergency or snow ordinance is enacted, the police department notifies the public by using the following sources — Osceola Police Facebook page, Nixle alerts (if not subscribed to Nixle you should be — ask us how), city of Osceola and Osceola Sentinel-Tribune websites, KSOI, KSIB and WHO, radio as well as television channels WOI, KCCI, WHO and Fox. We also utilize the message board at American State Bank’s motor bank on the square.

In Osceola, a snow emergency is in effect, “whenever the National Weather Service predicts that two or more inches of snow or ice will fall in the Osceola area or two or more inches of snow or ice has fallen in the Osceola area.”

The emergency will continue through the duration of the snow or ice storm, and for a 48-hour period after the storm ends.

When a snow emergency is in effect, three special rules go into effect for everyone within the city of Osceola. These rules address parking restrictions, snow removal restrictions and a time specific rule for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks.

When a snow emergency goes into effect in Osceola, a citywide parking ban goes into effect.

The parking ban states no one can park, abandon or otherwise leave unattended any vehicle on a public street, in an alley or parking areas in the public right-of-way and immediately adjacent to the traveled portion of a street.

This ban is in effect until the street, alley or public parking areas have been completely plowed — meaning more than just one trip down the street — the snow or ice storm has stopped or the ban has been lifted by the chief of police or the street superintendent.

If a vehicle is left in any of the described places while the emergency is in effect, the vehicle will be ticketed and is subject to impound at the owner’s expense.

The second rule that goes into effect governs snow removal from residential and commercial driveways, parking lots or other areas requiring snow removal.

Again, the ordinance prohibits throwing, pushing or placing of snow onto a public street, alley or public parking areas from private property, sidewalks or driveways. This applies to residents and commercial snow pushers.

Those who are observed placing snow into a street or alley can be forced to remove it at their expense or given a citation.

The final rule that goes into effect is the clearing of sidewalks. By city ordinance, property owners are required to remove snow and ice accumulations from the sidewalk within 48 hours of the end of the storm. Failure to comply may result in the city clearing the sidewalk and assessing the costs against the property owner.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you were informed. If you have any questions please either call or stop by the police department and we’ll try to answer them.

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