Snow parking a problem in St. Clairsville

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK St. Clairsville Councilmen Jim Velas, left, and Perry Basile and other discuss parking during snowfall during Monday’s council meeting. Velas suggested changing the ordinance to allow for earlier enforcement.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The city’s ban on parking on the streets during heavy snowfall may not be sufficient and a reworking of the ordinance may be in order to allow for earlier enforcement.

Currently, vehicles are forbidden from parking from midnight until 6 a.m. when snowfall is 2 inches or higher.

A full council of Perry Basile, Mike Smith, Frank Sabatino, Mark Bukmir, Jim Velas, Beth Oprisch, Linda Jordan and Council President Tim Porter discussed this and other issues Monday, in the aftermath of the last week’s extreme cold and heavy snow.

Velas commended the street department employees for their response during the recent cold weather, but he also relayed comments from citizens regarding the enforcement of the city ordinance requiring vehicles to be moved from parking along the streets during heavy snowfall. He pointed out that the law can only be enforced after midnight, and by then the snow may have fallen for hours and he asked if some earlier enforcement amendment could be put into place.

“We’ve got more vehicles parked on the street. We’ve got a lot of renters putting extra people on the street, and unfortunately there’s either not enough parking or there is no parking available to some of these rental properties,” he said. “By the time midnight comes along, these guys might have been plowing for three, four or five hours and the nightmare’s already created because they can’t get around.”

Oprisch suggested looking at the ordinance. It will likely be further addressed in future meetings.

Mayor Terry Pugh said it would be impossible to blanket the whole city, and police would have to prioritize emergency situations, but it might be possible to concentrate on known problem areas first.

“I’m frustrated too,” Pugh said, adding that the city has tried to put the word out, asking drivers to be more considerate during snowfalls.

“It’s hard to legislate courtesy,” Bukmir said.

In other matters of infrastructure, Sabatino pointed out the potholes evident after the recent cold snap. Safety and Service Director Jim Zucal said the city’s and Richland Township’s dura-patch device would begin to be used this week.

As expected, the thawing ground after the cold has also resulted in recent waterline breaks over the weekend.

In other matters, Curt Hanstine, engineer with Diversified Engineering, was named to a vacant post on the Storm Water Quality Board.

The Planning Commissioner will meet at 6 p.m. March 4 at the city building. The Cumberland Trail Fire District will meet 3 p.m. Wednesday at the firehall. The next council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19.