Snow removal complaints heat up

by Carolina King

City Administrator Katie Sickles is making efforts to alleviate an ongoing winter problem in Ouray. The inadequate removal of snow is again causing trouble for local business.
Sickles described to the Ouray City Council Monday night what she had observed in the areas the public and local businesses had been complaining about.
Snow is currently removed from parking spots along Main Street but not on the side streets. Sickles said the issues were mostly with snow piles on 6th, 7th and 8th avenues.
According to public comments, the main problem occurs as those piles melt and refreeze, creating slick, icy spots that have caused cars to slide into each other and even one to hit the Mountain Fever building on Christmas Eve.
Bruce Gulde, co-owner of Mountain Fever Shirts and Gifts, requested by email that the city’s public works employees remove the snow pile near his business on 7th Avenue and that signs be posted directing people not to park there during snow removal operations. He voiced his frustration to council Monday night while holding a folder with a copy of a 2009 snow removal policy in his hand, lamenting that he had been coming before the council on this issue for 10 years.
“What’s it going to take, someone suing the city?” Tamara Gulde, co-owner, asked the council.  
Council members and Public Works Director Joe Coleman discussed the cost that would go into enforcement, including ticketing and towing of vehicles.
Coleman also testified to the work his employees put in during a big storm. He said it takes “all six of us” just to clear Main Street. He spoke of one employee working for 16 hours straight and stated, “We don’t get a second shift.”
“We got to figure out what we are going to do here. We know we have got a problem,” Mayor Pam Larson said, also voicing concerns about what it would cost to remove snow satisfactorily.
Sickles stated there are four options: pay to clear the snow from the piles; draft a snow route restriction with no parking at certain times and equip public works with more operators and equipment; issue citations to “undercover snow displacement operators” (people who remove snow from their areas of property or business while potentially causing more problems for others); or, just continue using available resources.
Sickles suggested staff “start putting together an ordinance” because even putting up signs would require that.
No decisions were made, but Larson said staff would be coming back to the next meeting with...

To view more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.