Ordinance deals with Placer snowplow storage
August 13, 2008
An amendment to Placer County code may allow snow removal businesses in the North Lake Tahoe region to store equipment in residential areas, a change that has spurred controversy between property owners and the county.
The current ordinance does not allow storage of commercial vehicles on residential property, but, said Russell Poulsen, chairman of the Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council, the statute is also not enforced,
“There’s no doubt operators have been violating the current ordinance,” Poulsen said. “If it were enforced, it would make life a living hell in this area.”
After receiving a string of complaints from property owners regarding noise and aesthetics, Placer County officials decided to review the code, Poulsen said.
A new draft ordinance was subsequently constructed, which would allow equipment to be stored in residential, commercial and industrial zones with some noise and visibility restrictions, Poulsen said.
“I do think the ordinance obviously needs to be adapted, but I also think it is a good thing,” Poulsen said, citing the lack of storage space and the difficulty in accessing snow removal equipment during heavy storms as reasons behind his support.
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The amendment would apply to all of Placer County’s snow areas, but Squaw Valley homeowners and snow removal operators are at the center of the controversy.
The Placer County Planning Department will meet with the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council on Thursday to discuss the draft ordinance and to address public concerns, said Edmund Sullivan, Placer County’s senior planner.
“Right now, it’s only in draft form,” Sullivan said. “We’re very open and responsive to public comment and want to hear the issues the public brings forward.”
Some controversy Placer County can expect to receive revolves around the noise disturbance generated when drivers crank up their diesel-powered machines in the early morning hours.
Other opposition may come from property owners who contend that the proposed change is being made without much notice to Squaw Valley residents, said Jon Lancaster, a 20-year Squaw Valley homeowner.
“For all these years, operators have been in direct violation of the law,” Lancaster said. “Now they’re trying to quickly change a law without notifying the property owners, which I believe is in violation of the Brown Act. I plan to pursue legal remedies.”