After complaints, Summit Hill Council tables snow ordinance
A proposed ordinance that would prohibit anyone but borough employees from plowing snow on the streets of Summit Hill was tabled Monday night by borough council.
The council had considered the ordinance, expressing liability and safety concerns.
Several individuals spoke out at the meeting against the proposal, including Councilman John O'Gurek, who feels it would prevent him from getting the driveway at his residence plowed. He said anyone plowing his driveway has to back onto the street, which he feels would be a violation under the proposed rules.
Because of the feedback, the council has set a special workshop meeting for 7 p.m. March 10 to further discuss the proposal.
Especially outspoken against the proposal was local business owner David Hiles, who plows at his business, at his church and at his residence.
Hiles feels the ordinance was being sought to single him out.
He said that even though the ordinance hasn't been adopted yet, he already was approached by the police department and ordered to stop plowing. He said the police directive was at the request of a council member.
Hiles complained to the council that borough workers don't complete their plowing until two days after a storm.
"You have two men and two trucks," he told the council, noting he felt that by doing some plowing he felt he was helping the borough.
He disputed the argument by the council that liability was a reason for the ordinance, stating, "There's no liability because I have my own insurance."
Council President Jesse Walck said liability is still a factor because if damage occurs by an outside plow truck, and the property owner can't identify who did the damage, the borough is then held responsible.
Hiles told the council it is causing unsafe conditions by leaving the snow on the street for such a long period. He said he has concerns for elderly people who have to step through the snow days after a storm.
"I don't think you're thinking this through at all," Hiles said of the ordinance.
"This is a personal grudge," he added.
"If this isn't going to be harassment, nothing is because police are targeting me before the ordinance is even passed," he said.
"There is no personal vendetta," assured Councilman Michael Alabovitz.
Hiles said the ordinance prevents business owners from plowing their lots. It stops churches from having areas around their buildings plowed for parishioners.
"I would think it would be a help to the town to have people plow snow and take the burden off the two people (borough employees) who do it all," said Hiles.
Walck said another problem with individuals who plow snow on their own is they pile it at intersections, blocking the views of motorists. In addition, they often plow it onto private property.
Alabovitz made the motion to table the matter, stating, "There is a need for discussion on this."
Billy O'Gurek seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
One member of the audience, who didn't identify himself remarked, "You should look at the ordinance you already have. You shouldn't wait three days to finish plowing."
"We let the letter of the law get in the way of the intent of the law," O'Gurek responded.