The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Culpeper may limit snow travel
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
When the first flakes of snow fall, there are two basic reactions from many motorists.
Some absolutely refuse to drive in snow, while others immediately hop in their cars and take to the streets and roads with a passion.
The town of Culpeper’s public works department would like to dispense with the latter group—unless they operate four-wheel drive vehicles or have chains (or the equivalent) or snow treads on their tires.
The proposed ordinance would only apply to primary streets, which coincidentally, lead to all the stores that sell milk and toilet paper, the two staples of snowstorm survival.
Culpeper’s town manager would have the power to declare a snow emergency but a quick review of the proposed ordinance finds that it makes no provision for drivers who are caught at work or other functions if a heavy snow arrives suddenly.
It is unclear whether those drivers could be ticketed by police for driving home.
The main purpose of this snow emergency ordinance is to make sure that streets leading to firehouses, rescue squad buildings, the sheriff’s office and the police department could be plowed and would remain passable, according to public works director Jim Hoy.
The ordinance would also allow the towing of any vehicle parked on a snow emergency route during a called emergency. This would include Davis Street, the downtown’s main commerce area.
When the heavy snows in the winter of 2009–10 arrived, parked vehicles often presented problems for town crews clearing streets and parallel parking spaces.
Tuesday night the Town Council heard the first reading of the proposed ordinance with action on the issue likely to be taken in February.
Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Director Brian Duncan last night again requested that the Town Council include $62,500 in each of its next two fiscal year budgets to help expand the Culpeper Senior Center to accommodate 100 people (it now holds about 75 and there is a waiting list).
The RRCS hopes to raise $750,000 for the project with one-third coming from grants, one-third from private donations and one-third from government.
Culpeper entrepreneur Joe Daniel and his wife have already pledged to match dollar-for-dollar any private donations up to $100,000, Duncan said.
John Russell asked the Council to reconsider moving town elections from May to November—in non-presidential election years only. This would save the taxpayers about $6,000 per election and increase participation from 9 percent to about 37 percent, Russell said.
The Council also heard the first reading of a revised maintenance code ordinance that has been stripped down to its basics and matches that of the county.