Oroville discusses small snowplows on city roads, sidewalks

OROVILLE – At their Tuesday, Dec. 21 meeting, Oroville Councilman Tony Koepke brought up the need for an ordinance regarding those who want to plow driveways and sidewalks.

“I’d like to discuss an ordinance allowing small snow plows to plow driveways and sidewalks,” said Koepke, referring to people who use their four-wheelers and lawn tractors to remove snow.

“There are around 12 people who plow to help those who can’t do it,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth, who applauds those who lend a hand.

However, Spieth said he takes exception to people like the “guy I saw standing up going full tilt down the sidewalk.”

Koepke, who uses his four-wheeler to plow for himself and neighbors, said, “Yea, they should be firmly planted in the seat and operate safely.”

“And for strictly snow removal,” added the Mayor, who asked for Police Chief Clay Warnstaff’s opinion.

“I am all for a city ordinance that will allow snow removal with ORV (off-road vehicles) as a service to the community. Right now they are illegal if they are on any city street unless we have such an ordinance,” Chief Warnstaff said.

The chief said there were two sets of folks who are doing the plowing currently – businesses like Eisen and Sons and others “doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Some members of the council expressed concern about the safety of opening up the streets to ORVs, recalling an incident two years ago where an ORV went in front of a truck on a city road and was hit.

It was generally agreed that if an ordinance was approved it would only allow ORVs on city streets in order to plow snow on sidewalks and in driveways, not recreationally and only during the winter. Operators would still have to stay off state and county streets in getting to and from areas were they were plowing.

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works suggested the city issue permits allowing the ORVs.

“I don’t want to make this complicated,” replied Chief Warnstaff, who will research other towns that have ordinances allowing the small snowplows to use the streets and report back at a future meeting.