In 2019 it is safe to say the entire country is deeply divided along politically based ideological lines. That trend is no different in Minnesota or here in Redwood Falls, but there is one thing we can all agree on here in Minnesota.

Winter is coming and, other than a few outliers, no one is happy about it.

Last year, winter just would not end, and the movement and removal of snow became a problem for both private property owners and the City of Redwood Falls. Everyone wants the streets clear of snow, but when vehicles are parked on the street, particularly some of our narrow residential roads, removing snow becomes problematic for the street department.

To aid in snow removal the city administrator has the authority to declare a snow emergency. When a snow emergency is declared all vehicles must be off public roads until the street is plowed curb to curb. Failure to move your vehicle will result in a citation.

If the vehicle is not removed within 24 hours after the citation is issued the vehicle is subject to another citation and towing at the owner’s expense.

Snow emergency declarations are publicized in advance via local radio, social media and the city’s Web site.

For those of you living on posted snow emergency routes signage on the road states it is illegal to park on the snow emergency route street if there is two, or more, inches of snow. Again, violation of that ordinance opens the potential for both citations and towing.

No police officer I have ever met entered the field of law enforcement because they dreamed of issuing endless numbers of parking tickets. The fact is, officers prefer everyone simply comply with the snow emergency parking restrictions, but for those who fail to comply citations and towing are the only way to ensure the streets are plowed curb to curb.

Once the citation is issued, officers are not allowed to void it. Citations must be contested before the city’s administrative hearing officer.

Hopefully winter will not be as severe or last into April again, but, while it’s here, pay attention to local media for snow emergency declarations and have a plan to move and park your vehicle.

If you have questions about the snow emergencies or parking feel free to contact the Redwood Falls Police Department at (507) 637-4005.

– Jason Cotner serves as the chief of the Redwood Falls Police Department