Controversy crops up over snow plow storage |

Controversy crops up over snow plow storage

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunSquaw Valley Snow Removal owner Mark Vierra stands next to a blower that he parks in a neighbors driveway in exchange for free plow service. Placer county is considering enforcing a mandate that snow removal equipment cannot be parked in residential areas.

A controversial change to Placer County code could allow snow removal businesses to store equipment in residential areas.

Currently the zoning ordinance does not allow the storage of commercial vehicles on residential properties except under limited circumstances. Several snow removal operators have been cited for violation of the county zoning ordinance, a county report said.

The proposal has met with a small but vocal minority, said Russell Poulsen Chairman of the Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council.

Although the amendment would apply to all of Placer County, a Squaw Valley operator and resident is at the center of the controversy it is creating. Mark Vierra owner of Squaw Valley Snow Removal said storing the equipment farther away for the service area is possible but would drive up costs for his customers and increase the time it takes for him to complete his job.

Many of the more controversial issues involving the ordinance amendment have to do with noise, aesthetics, how many machines may be stored in one place and what time of morning the drivers crank up their diesel-powered machines, according to Poulsen.

Depending on the storms operators often start up the loaders and blowers can be at midnight or 1 a.m., Vierra said.

The plan is in a public comment phase, according to the county.

On March 27 the Squaw advisory council held a well attended public hearing in Squaw, and on April 10 Clark will lead an informational presentation in Tahoe City.

The ordinance as it stands, Poulsen said, is impractical for this area considering the significant snowfall and transportation safety issues.

The amended ordinance would apply for the periods of Nov. 15 through May 15, Clark said.

No timeline for acceptance has been adopted yet.

“At some point we will collate the information, draft an ordinance, and bring it to the planning commission. Then the planning commission will recommend [to the board of supervisors],” he said.

A presentation led by the Placer County Planning Department’s Loren Clark will address the zoning text amendment regarding snow removal equipment will be held during the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council meeting April 10. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Tahoe City Public Utility District Board Room in Tahoe City.

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