Downtown snow removal

A member of the Napoleon Parks and Recreation Department removes snow from downtown sidewalks Tuesday morning.

With the largest winter storm in recent years bearing down on northwest Ohio, it’s probably little wonder snow removal was a topic of discussion Monday night for Napoleon City Council.

Councilman Jeff Comadoll asked for increased enforcement of the city’s snow removal ordinance, which states, “Every person who is an owner or occupant of abutting lots and lands in the City shall keep the curbs, driveways, and sidewalks clean and free from all accumulations of ice, snow, and all combinations thereof within 24 hours after cessation of the accumulation.”

“Some of them are doing great, some of them they haven’t touched,” Comadoll said, referring to sidewalks in his neighborhood. “I’ve got three in my neighborhood that weren’t touched before I came (to the meeting).”

He added at that time there was more snow on the way, which would compound the issue.

“Can we have Mr. (Kevin) Schultheis (the zoning inspector) do a little more out there?” Comadoll asked.

City Manager Joel Mazur said Schultheis has been out letting people know.

“It takes a little time,” Mazur said.

He added he understands the danger of the situation because sometimes pedestrians will walk out onto a plowed street rather than a sidewalk that has not been shoveled. This increases the chance of a vehicle hitting them.

“If we could get it enforced a little more, I’d really appreciate it,” Comadoll said.

Councilwoman Lori Siclair also asked about whether business owners or property owners in the downtown area could clear a path for pedestrians to use to get from a parking space onto the sidewalks.

“Especially downtown, the streets are cleared nicely but then there’s quite a bit of snow up on the curb, so when you get out of your car it’s hard to get up on the sidewalk,” Siclair said, adding she was asked about it by a resident.

She added that can be particularly dangerous if the snow pile also begins to freeze.

Napoleon Operations Manager Jeff Rathge said sometimes even when the street crews have the snow plowed off the street, including the curb, it can then later be shoveled back in front of the curb.

“That last snow we got, I thought everything looked really good Sunday night, rolled out from the curb, then Monday morning all the sidewalks got shoveled out,” Rathge said.

He added he opted that time to not spend the money on another night of overtime for crews to remove that snow, but said if that was council’s wish it should let him know.

“You tell me, it can be done,” he added.

Siclair suggested business owners might want to “take it upon themselves to make sure there is a path there.”

Mazur said it is the property owner’s responsibility to manage the sidewalks for the tenants. He also said it can be difficult to put the snow someplace.

Mazur said the city’s operation policy on snow is when there is up to six inches or so it gets managed in place, but when there’s more, it gets piled in the middle of the street and then hauled out at night.

Napoleon contracts with companies to haul the snow away.

When the city is at a level two snow emergency, personnel from the Napoleon Parks and Recreation Department will come in and help clear the sidewalks in the downtown area.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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