The City of Jacksonville streets department will have a few more streets to plow this winter. Several of the citizens of some of the older subdivisions, namely in the west wind have requested an agreement with the city for snow removal on the otherwise private streets.
City Attorney Dan Beard says that the request has been brought up several times over the years: “Over the past several years, we’ve had a couple of requests [for snow removal] from the older, established subdivisions in town that have private drives as opposed to roads that were dedicated to the city when the subdivisions were platted. It seems the city could help them out with snow plowing, not with maintenance of the streets or anything like that. We had a Planning & Public Works Committee meeting about a week ago and a consensus there was that for those older subdivisions streets (there’s only 3 or 4 subdivisions in question) that the city could go ahead an enter into agreements for snow removal on those streets without agreeing to any maintenance of the streets and, certainly under the understanding that the city would be held harmless for any damage that may occur to the streets during the snowplowing efforts.”
Beard says that the city cannot annex in the streets because the streets were not built within specifications and codes. Beard says the city would be buying into more problems with new construction and engineering to bring them up to city code. In years past, the subdivision would pool money to pay a snow removal company to plow the streets during inclement weather. Barn Lane, Audobon Drive, Westwood, Sunset Drive’s cul-de-sac, some Housing Authority property streets are the locations in question. Beard said, for full disclosure in the city council meeting, that his current residence is on Barn Lane.
Beard says that with the homeowners in the subdivision being property tax payers, the city could remove the snow at minimal cost. He says that even though the subdivisions’ streets are considered privately owned, they are open to the public to use.
Ward 5 Alderman Steve Warmowski, whose ward covers most of the subdivisions in question, asked for the city council to table the measure on Monday so that the public could provide further input. The motion failed 5-3 to table. The council instead authorized the mayor’s office in a 5-2 vote to begin entering into agreements with those subdivisions. Beard says he’s working on the paperwork for the homeowners currently: “I will be in contact and the city will be in contact with the various subdivisions. I’ll put together a basic agreement for all of them to take a look at. If they want to have the city undertake this responsibility for the snow removal, then each of the residents in the subdivision will have to sign off on the agreement and the hold-harmless clause. I would hope to have those ready for the various subdivisions to take a look at and consider within the next two weeks.”
The subdivisions will sign off individually on the agreement with the city, with the mayor’s signature as the final step in the process. Beard says he hopes to have all the agreements signed and completed before the next city council meeting on December 14th.