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Smithsburg considers snow plans

March 01, 2001

Smithsburg considers snow plans



By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

The Town of Smithsburg is considering three plans to remove snow next winter, ranging from do-it-yourself to full-service for downtown parking spaces.

The Town Council on Tuesday debated the pros, cons and fairness of each proposal, but made no decisions. Councilmen Charlie Slick and Jake Johnson said there's no point in rushing into a policy when the snow season is ending.

Public Works Director Bill Loughridge recommended that the town plow snow from traffic lanes, but that residents and business owners clear their own parking spaces and mailboxes.

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The town currently clears parking spaces in the square, he said, but plows are thwarted when parked cars are in the way.

A couple of shop owners asked the Mayor and Town Council on Tuesday to consider the effect of snow plowing on businesses.

Katie Tolbert, the owner of Katie's House, a shop on Main Street, said customers want to park and walk downtown "without the fear of falling or having to tramp through the snow."

A second proposal calls for the town to push snow from traffic lanes toward curbs and mailboxes, just short of the sidewalks. Parking spaces in front of businesses in the square would be cleared.

Under the third option, shoulders on the odd-numbered sides of roads would be plowed on days ending in odd numbers, and even sides would be plowed on even days. If cars block the way, shoulders would not be plowed.

Loughridge said it is fairer to have everyone clear their own parking spaces than to give some businesses special treatment.

In written comments about the proposals, Police Chief Ralf Berger said the first option is the best. He said the third option would require citations and towing, which could upset residents.

Councilman Mike Rohrer asked that the town's economic development and public works committees provide input.

But Councilman Jerome Martin argued that the council should take a stance instead of passing the buck.

"You want to throw this at somebody else because you don't want to make a decision," Martin charged.

Also on Tuesday, Loughridge cleared the air over criticism Rohrer previously made about snow removal.

Rohrer left a message on the Town Hall answering machine on Jan. 21 after a snow storm, upset that he couldn't back his truck into his driveway.

"The snow removal stinks and whoever's responsible for the snow removal needs to reevaluate their thinking," he said on the answering machine, suggesting that police officers on bicycles spread salt by hand while on patrol.

The message was played publicly last month during a council work session from which Rohrer was absent.

Loughridge said Tuesday that the episode was blown out of proportion, but he felt compelled to defend his work.

"There's so much backstabbing and talking behind people's backs, it's not good for any of us," Loughridge said. He urged council members, including Rohrer, to come to him with comments about his department.

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