Pushing snow into the street is one step closer to being illegal in the city of Crawfordsville.
The Crawfordsville City Council unanimously voted Monday to prohibit residents and businesses from pushing snow into city streets, alleys and parking lots.
“It is a sad reflection of our society today that the council has to consider this,” Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton. “There was a time when you knew right from wrong and you did the right thing. It is sad we have to consider this, but it is necessary.”
He added that people should just know that it is in no ones interest to push snow into the street.
The approval did not pass without some changes — three changes to be exact.
Councilman Scott Molin said that he was not happy with property owners being fined if they are not the ones committing the offense.
“I understand the intent,” he said.
The second change came by removing language referring to the snow as an obstruction. Councilman Dan Guard said that the ordinance should not try to define what an obstruction is.
“You can’t push the snow out there,” Guard said. “We have better things to do what define what an obstruction is.”
Guard said that the ordinance as it was written originally was arbitrary and hard to enforce.
The third change dealt with the fine structure for homeowners who push snow into the street.
“I think the fines are too severe,” Council Charlie Warren said.
Any homeowner who commits an offense can be fined $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for each additional offense. Commercial snow removers face a $250 fine on the first offense and a $500 for all other offenses.
Councilman Les Hearson asked if the fines were in line with other communities.
“Does it have enough teeth?” he asked.
City Street Commissioner Scott Hesler said that another county in central Indiana has a $2,500 fine for the first offense.
“I would be for (the amended fines) if we knew it was going to work,” Guard said.
The council unanimously amended the ordinance all three times.
The ordinance was nearly changed a fourth time. Councilman Andy Biddle asked if there should be a permit for commercial companies.
“They could be handed the rules,” he said. “That way they know what the rules are.”
Barton said that the city could look into it, but there is a lot of gray area in creating a commercial permit. He said that the city would have to define who needs the permit, otherwise it could include “the little boy who scoops his neighbors’ driveways for $10.”
“But that is something we can look at,” Barton said.
In other business, the council approved a resolution of need for the fire station No. 2 project. Bond attorney Heather R. James, a partner at Ice Miller, said that the city will need to create a building corporation for the project. The corporation will use bonds for the project, leasing the building to the city. The lease payment will cover the cost of the bond payment.
The council will meet Feb. 22 to preliminarily approve the lease and create the building corporation. James said that the total cost of the project will not be known until April, when bids will come back on the project.
The council also passed an ordinance on first reading moving control of the Crawfordsville Municipal Golf Course back to the Parks and Recreation Department. A golf course authority board currently has control of the course.
Molin said that the decision to move control to the golf course authority was the right thing to do at the time, but moving control back to the Park Board is also the right thing to do now. Molin asked if it would make sense to create a new golf board made up of golfers to get their input on decisions affecting the course.
“Electing their own board would circumvent what we are trying to do here,” Barton said.
Hearson asked if the council should pass the ordinance on all three readings Monday night. He said it made sense to have the change of control in place before the course opens in March.
Molin blocked an attempt to suspend rules to allow the council to vote on all three readings. After the meeting, he said that he has talked to golfers and he did not want it to appear as if the council was pushing the change of authority through.
Councilman Mike Reidy and Councilwoman Jennifer Lowe were absent Monday night.