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This mailbox needs to be shoveled out. |(Mark Dionne\Town Times.)

Snow worries mount up in Durham

At the two December Board of Selectmen meetings, Durham officials have expressed frustration over snow removal issues in town.

Homeowners and plowing services have in past storms caused problems for traffic and continued snow removal by depositing snow from driveways into the streets.

Speed bumps of hardened snow across roads and mounds of snow left on the sides of the streets from driveways create a hazard for traffic. Department of Emergency Management Director Frances Willet, who attended both BOS meetings, said that the improperly deposited snow was also a hazard for emergency vehicles operating after a storm.

According to a town ordinance: “No person shall deposit any snow, ice, leaves or other debris onto any portion of any public town road, street or sidewalk, so as to impede or render unsafe any manner of use or travel upon said public town road, street or sidewalk.”

There is a potential $50 fine for each offense.

Although the winter of 2013-2014 has been so far less dramatic than recent winters, snowstorms have already brought out the town plows. Town officials at the BOS meetings after the snowfalls suggested they may need to be more aggressive enforcing the ordinance.

Another ordinance requires homeowners with adjoining sidewalks to clear the sidewalks of snow within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. If a homeowner fails to clear the snow, the town may do so at the home owner’s expense, with an additional $5 fine.

It is also unlawful to park on Durham streets between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. from Nov. 1 to April 1 or anytime during a declared snow emergency.

The board also discussed publicizing the town’s policy on replacing mailboxes damaged by snowplowing. According to the town’s policy, distributed by Francis, “The Department of Public Works will not be responsible for mailbox damage from snow being propelled against the mailbox during snowplowing activities.”

For mailboxes damaged by direct contact from a snow plow, the Department of Public Works will determine the cause of the damage - improper mailbox installation or plow operator error. In the case of operator error, damaged mailboxes will be replaced with a standard mailbox and post.

The Public Works’ policy suggests that homeowners install their mailboxes 12 inches away from the road edge and 40 to 44 inches above the road elevation and not let snow pile up around the mailbox.



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