Oh, the things melting snowbanks unearth

Tim St. Peter , Special to The County
2 months ago

It’s that time of year again when the days are getting warmer and longer. The birds are returning, although the locals won’t call it spring until the robins are hopping around. The calendar tells us that March 21 was the first day of spring, and while that might be true for the lower half of the state, we in the north will likely have more storms to deal with before we can say spring is here. 

I have always liked the scenery after a snow fall, when everything looks so clean. But like everyone else, I look forward to when the snow banks recede. In sharp contrast to a fresh snowfall, the spring melt lets us see all the sand and dirt that help us get through the winter. And with all the things that we look forward to in the spring time, it also brings all the things that the snow hid from us all winter long. 

In my recent travels around the city, I have noticed quite a few cars popping through the snow banks. Very similar to spring flowers, I am sure they are just chasing the warm sunlight. Some of your neighbors might not find the newly visible car are as pretty as the spring flowers. This is when I typically hear about such vehicles. 

Our Land Use and Development Code addresses such issues in Section II A 9 of Chapter 2 states, “No vehicle shall be parked upon any residential property, in the aforementioned zones, that is not currently and properly registered and used by the occupant(s) or owner(s) of his dwelling or his invited guests; except when that vehicle is housed or contained in a garage or other structure that complies with the existing building codes of the City.”

What this means is an unregistered and/or unlicensed vehicle cannot be stored on the property unless it is stored in a structure. If the vehicle is registered and subject to use, then there is no issue. Most of the time I will be able to tell which vehicles are subject to use and which ones have become lawn ornaments. 

Vehicles are not the only thing the spring melt unearths. That trash bag that no one realizes went missing back in January will always find its way out, just like the bears coming out of hibernation. But no one is oohing and ahhing over those trash bags that are now attracting the bears to the neighborhood. 

Chapter 13 deals with these issues. This is the city’s litter ordinance. In short, this ordinance prohibits littering and requires all trash to be stored in the proper containers until transport.  While it was not intentional when the trash bag went on its own adventure, these issues need to be addressed as soon as they are known about. Sometimes this will mean digging the trash out of the snowbank. 

No worries, though — it won’t be hungry like the bears are. 

If you have any further questions, concerning these two ordinances, please feel free to contact me.

Tim St. Peter is Presque Isle’s code enforcement officer.  He can be reached at 760-2770 or via email at @tstpeter@presqueisleme.us.