ATHENS — On Wednesday, Athens Township Supervisors agreed to have township Solicitor John Thompson draft an updated snow emergency policy.
“There is some ambiguity and provisions that deal with parking and traveling on snow-covered routes,” explained Thompson. “There are no (snow emergency routes) that are designated.”
The current policy may create confusion under the provisions that deal with snow and ice emergencies, he continued.
“You (currently) have the declaration of snow and ice emergencies, and then you have parking and driving restrictions,” said Thompson.
“It’s been suggested that we clean it up in some manner,” he said. “Either by removing that entirely — the provision that specifies that there will be snow emergency routes — or in some other manner, hence, having some specific routes that are designated.”
Supervisors noted that potential snow emergency routes in the township are mostly state roads, meaning the state would have to give permission to designate those roads accordingly.
“I would think it would be much less hassle to drop the emergency routes because who is going to enforce that in the middle of a storm,” said township Secretary Robin Smith. “I would think, if you could get rid of that, they would still have the power to ticket people for parking in the roads because thats in the other section.”
“(Police Chief) Roger (Clink)’s concern was, and I agree with him, that they conflict a little bit as the penalties are different,” Smith continued. “He declared a snow emergency during the last storm we had, but it didn’t mean anything, because we don’t have any emergency routes, and it was just for the routes.”
“This way, if we incorporated something where he can declare an emergency and have the same regulations apply — you can’t park on the street, you have to clear the fire hydrants if they’re by your house, you have to make sure your sidewalk is shoveled, (etc.)” Smith explained.
“It should be more than a $2 fine,” said Thompson.
“As long as we’re doing it, you might want to put some teeth into it,” Thompson said. “The ones I know of are $25 to $75, and that’s at least a little bit better.”
Thompson will begin drafting an updated policy to be approved at a municipal meeting in the near future.