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Hudson blizzard fines differ for sidewalks, cars

Jan 05, 2011 8:04 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Snow melts in Hudson, NY"][/caption]The season's first blizzard, and how it hit Hudson and its city infrastructure, are the topic of a story in this morning's Register Star that notes how the city’s code enforcement department has exercised some forgiveness in the wake of the massive snowstorm which hit the Northeast over the holiday weekend, issuing no code violations for residences and businesses who failed to shovel their sidewalks within the prescribed amount of time outlined in the city’s snow emergency policy. Meanwhile, however the Hudson Police Department, issued more than 100 tickets for snow emergency violations and more than 10 vehicles were towed as a result of the storm, according to Hudson Police Lt. Richard Paolino.

Snow removal did not start until Tuesday night, and continued into Wednesday and Thursday. City employees were off on Friday, Dec. 31, for the New Year’s holiday, and by the time workers returned on Monday, all sidewalks were clear, due largely in part to the warming of the weather melting most of the snow on the sidewalks.

A city snow emergency dictates that any businesses or residences on Warren Street must have the sidewalks in front of their establishments shoveled within 12 hours of the end of the storm, while the rest of the city’s streets have until 24 hours after the snow ends to clear their pathways.

But Wurster said his department “gave everyone more patience this time,” due to the large amount of snow and the fact that the storm hit on a holiday week (the snow began to fall Sunday, Dec. 26, and persisted until late Monday afternoon).

“It was a severe amount of snow — that was a tough one to move,” said Wurster. “I think everyone was inundated with a lot of snow and it didn’t serve us any good, or the courts any good, to start going out and getting very particular with this type of a snowstorm.”

“Once the city clears their sidewalks and crosswalks, then we hit it — crosswalks weren’t really clear until almost Thursday,” said Wurster. “Friday we were off, then we had the weekend, and I was ready to hit them on Monday — but with the weather being what it was, the snow was gone.”

Wurster said the department got only one call complaining of lack of shoveling.

From Dec. 28 to 29, Paolino said, Hudson Police issued roughly 114 snow emergency tickets. A snow emergency violation carries a $25 penalty, he said, totaling about $2,850 in fines.

“It’s just one of those types of situations where, whenever it snows, people have got to pay special attention to the media as far as snow emergency rules in effect, or even snow removal,” said Paolino. “(Public Works) may close a whole street down to get the snow out — that’s in addition to any parking regulations ... especially if there’s a large amount of snow.”

In addition to the 114 snow emergency tickets issued, Paolino said a number of cars were towed both during the storm and during snow removal. Some cars were parked or stuck in snow banks, or were sticking out into the streets.

During snow removal, 11 cars were towed, Paolino said, and during the snowstorm itself, “a couple” of vehicles were towed as well. This is below the typical amount of cars towed as a result of a snowstorm, Paolino noted.

“I remember in years past, up to 20 vehicles have been towed (during a snowstorm),” said Paolino.
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