Town residents hot over snow

Hayden business owners upset over conflicting ordinances

— Compliance with the law has created some headaches this winter for several business owners in Hayden.

A few people who own shops and restaurants in Hayden's business district told the Hayden Town Board Thursday evening they can't follow a particular town ordinance without running into problems that affect not only their customers but endanger the safety of pedestrians.

A town ordinance requires business owners to shovel their sidewalks. Business owners shovel the snow onto the street because they have no other options for snow removal.

A second town ordinance, however, prohibits them from shoveling snow onto the street.

"What do you do with the stuff?" Jeff Simon, who owns a woodshop on Walnut Street, asked the board.

He and his wife, Karen, said they have noticed less plowing along the street this winter.

Less plowing means more ice and packed snow, he said.

More ice and snow means putting children and motorists at risk, he said.

When the snowplow does come, Karen Simon said, it must work harder and longer to remove a greater amount of snow and ice than if it came more often.

"We're just asking for a little more consistency, and then we could manage it," she said.

Business owners look to the town to assist them with snow and ice removal, said Linda Duffy, who owns the Food Mill along Hayden's main street.

Duffy's restaurant receives no direct sunlight, so the snow and ice that accumulate around the sidewalks remain until someone physically removes the buildup.

Hiring a private contractor to remove snow and ice would drain small businesses that already struggle with other expenses, she said.

"I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place," Duffy said.

Increased traffic in the morning further complicates the problem. When vehicles park where business owners place the shoveled snow from their sidewalks, the snowplow cannot reach the snow, Hayden Public Works Director Frank Fox said.

An amended parking ordinance in Hayden states cars should not be allowed to park on town streets before 7 a.m. if they prevent snowplows from reaching the snow.

Members of the Town Board suggested the town place signs that prohibit parking before 7 a.m. to allow snowplows to reach the snow currently obstructed by parked cars.

When Robyn Boeckman's Full Belly Deli opens at 7:30 a.m., her customers often must trudge through slush and ice to get to the door.

"We have nowhere else but to put the snow in the street," she said. "It's messy."

The board eventually asked the business owners to pile snow from the sidewalks on the aggregate area next to the curb.

Fox agreed to bring a snowplow through to remove the shoveled snow as needed.

The town should stay on top of snow removal in its downtown business district after recently putting so much money toward the sidewalks, Trustee Richard "Festus" Hagins said.

"We need to make it a priority," he said.

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