Pataskala Mayor Mike Compton, who has cleared snow as part of his own landscaping business for the past 25 years, last week sent an email to residents concerning the city's snow-removal procedures.
Compton said he sent the information to the list of about 370 subscribers to the city's e-newsletter, posted it on Facebook and sent it to local media outlets.
He explained why plows travel at certain speeds, why snow gets piled in residents' driveways, how mailboxes are damaged, when salt is used and how the city determines which roads are cleared first.
"Those are always the most frequently asked questions during a snowstorm of this magnitude," Compton said of the Feb. 4-5 storm. "Every year, we have to go through this and let folks know how we do things. This, being 10 to 11 inches of snow and ice, was no normal storm. It has raised more questions and we're running out of places to put the snow, so I thought it was best to educate folks and bring them up to speed."
Compton said he recommended legislation prohibiting on-street parking during snowstorms. He had no estimated date for introduction, but the legislation would have to be prepared by him, the acting administrator or city attorney before being presented to City Council.
"After the questions about why the city plowed snow to the end of driveways or damaged a mailbox, the most routine question asked is, 'Why did the city plow snow all around my car?' This is, unfortunately, an unavoidable result of the action of snow removal," he wrote in the email. "Passage of the ordinance to prohibit on-street parking during major snow events will eliminate the challenges and obstacles plow drivers face when plowing subdivisions and neighborhood streets. It will also prevent the accumulation of snow around cars parked on the roads."
Compton said in the email the city's major roads and "dangerous hills and curves" get top priority. After they are treated, the plow drivers take care of "side streets, neighborhood roads and subdivision roads."
"The city has a goal of treating all roads at least once within 24 hours from when a snow event ends," Compton wrote. "While the city does treat every road within 24 hours, the magnitude of the storm dictates how quickly roads are completely passable."
Compton also wrote in the email that Pataskala has never run out of salt this season and salt is best used at temperatures above 18 degrees and not during a heavy snowfall.
He said the trucks must maintain a certain speed to provide the force needed for the plow to remove snow and the snow is plowed off the streets and across driveways.
He said many mailboxes were knocked over in the last storm, pushed over by "the force of snow coming off the plow blade."
The city will pay $60 for mailboxes that were hit by plows but the city is not responsible for mailboxes damaged "by the force of snow" from plows, Compton said.
Residents can contact Pataskala's service department at 740-927-2021.
In related news, West Licking Joint Fire District Chief Ken Mathews is asking residents to help clear snow from around fire hydrants near their homes.
Mathews said maintenance of fire hydrants is the responsibility of the city or the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District.
"We do clean some sometimes but we also ask citizens if there is one in front of their house to clean out around it," Mathews said. "Because of the amount of hydrants in our (coverage) area in the city (of Pataskala) and Southwest Licking (water and sewer district), it's almost an impossible task to go out and dig them all out."