New Snow Ordinance for Elkader Residents

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Last week’s snowfalls were moderate but we all know bigger storms are coming. And when they do, Elkader residents will have a new snow ordinance to follow.

Approved last April by City Council, the ordinance prohibits parking between 2 and 6 a.m. on public streets whenever snow has accumulated on the paved portion of the road. This part of the ordinance covers snowfalls that are not significant enough for a snow emergency declaration. Motorists will be fined $20 per violation.

A snow emergency adds another layer to the ordinance: For up to 24 hours after an emergency has been declared, parking is prohibited on all streets. If snow removal efforts take less time than that, the parking ban will be lifted. Downtown parking lots will be cleared early so anyone who needs to be downtown will still have a place to park.

The ordinance does not say how much snow must fall before an emergency is declared but “generally this will be reserved for six inches or more.”

An emergency declaration is made by the mayor or someone designated by the mayor like the City Administrator, Public Works Director or the Elkader Chief of Police. Snow emergency notifications will be done utilizing traditional media outlets like KWWL-TV and KCTN radio as well as social media like the City of Elkader Facebook page. The Clayton County Register will also post information on their Facebook site.

During a snow emergency, members of the Elkader Police Department are authorized to tow and impound any vehicle parked on a city street. Ticket violations are $30 in addition to towing fees. Tickets will not be issued the first two hours of the emergency to give motorists time to move their vehicles.

“We ask for residents’ cooperation the first year of the new ordinance so we can see how it works,” said City administrator Jennifer Cowsert. “It can always be tweaked but we want to try it for one snow season at a minimum. Also, ask for residents to be considerate and allow our crews to do their jobs.”

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