Snowplow parking an issue in Alpine Meadows
Blowaway Snow Removal in Alpine Meadows may have to find a new place for equipment vital to their winter business.
The company, which services more than 150 households, received notice from Placer County officials that it could not store snow removal equipment at the owner’s residence in Alpine Meadows. The company may have to store its equipment in Tahoe City or Kings Beach, said Shirley Ellis, a joint owner of Blowaway Snow removal.
Mike Harris, with Placer County code enforcement, said storage of snow removal equipment has been a common issue for the county and is now working with three or four other companies on the same issue.
Companies with commercial equipment at private residences have three options: They can move the equipment; apply for a use permit and variance allowing their equipment on the property; or try to change the code, which is a much longer process, Harris said.
Blowaway’s Ellis said a petition is circulating in Alpine Meadows supporting a change of the code. If there is enough support, Blowaway Snow Removal would then choose to follow that line of action. But if the company does not get support, Ellis said she would apply for the permit within a month.
“I have to do what I have to do to honor our contracts with people,” Ellis said.
Because Placer County snow removal may take up to 72 hours to clear the roads in Alpine Meadows, it is difficult for the companies to get their plows to their customers’ driveways, she said.
Joy Hitchcock, an Alpine Meadows resident, said the private companies are important when county plows don’t get to the area quickly.
“We are last on the list for getting county plows. We need the local plows to get out,” Hitchcock said.
Ellis said her company did not regularly plow county roads, but have in the past for emergency access.
“It’s a health and safety issue. We plow the roads for medical personnel,” she said.
Matt Warren, who runs SnowTech in Truckee, said that smaller businesses also often store equipment at Truckee residences. And while doing so goes against the town’s code, there hasn’t been much enforcement in the past.
“While bigger companies like us operate legitimately and use commercial storage, for many smaller operations that isn’t feasible,” Warren said. “The problem in Alpine Meadows is that there is really no place zoned appropriately to store snow removal equipment.”