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Blizzard challenges street crews

11/20/08 (Thu)

Somewhere in the corner of the Hazen City Commission meeting room Monday evening, Mother Nature was snickering. And after dumping nearly 10 inches of wet, heavy snow on Hazen two weeks ago, Hazen city street crews have been left to deal with the aftermath.

Disobedience of Hazen parking ordinances has been making the street crews’ job difficult, Hazen City Foreman George Quast said.

Current city ordinance states vehicles – including boats and campers – garner a $5 fine if parked on the street for over 48 hours at a time.

"In most cases of a snowstorm, 48 hours is too long," Commissioner Myra Axtman said. "If it snows and we give them 48 hours to move that vehicle, the street crew could have gone around that vehicle by that time."

The commission has waived the ordinance in a few past summer months to accommodate the many boats and campers in Hazen, Commissioner Ken Link said, an inconsistency that could be fixed by exempting summer months from the 48-hour parking ordinance. Ordinance wording also states the city’s governing body or Hazen Street Commissioner would give residents notice of street cleaning, according to City Planner Steve Frovarp.

"I think we need something (residents) understand long in advance," Link said.

City Attorney Pat Donovan said the city has used newspaper publication when time allows, as well as the Community Access Channel. Ensuring the message reached each resident would be difficult, Axtman noted.