Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 Church Directory

Palmer to enhance enforcement of snow plowing statute

The agenda for Monday night’s Palmer Township board meeting looked familiar to attendees, as the issue of plowing snow on township and county roadways was again addressed.

As has widely been reported at many township meetings across Sherburne County and in this newspaper over the past several years, Minnesota Statute 160.2715 expressly prohibits homeowners from plowing snow or placing snow onto any roadway. This also includes the roadway right-of-ways.

The issue is one of safety, as many times the people plowing their driveways create a road hazard for motorists and any snow/slush that is left behind also often leads to ice, drifting and sometimes snow “speed bumps” for motorists driving down the roadway. One “near miss” was also reported at the meeting where a plower operating a four wheeler came across the road and almost collided with a truck.

Chair Mike Ganz noted that the township has been dealing with the issue for years, but it continues to get worse. Supervisors Steve Demeules and Richard Larson agreed, and as a result, the board approved a motion to send letters to violators. It was noted that the Sherburne County Sheriffs Office can issue a ticket on the first offense, but the township was hoping that with increased warnings maybe there would be better compliance from citizens. 

This issue was certainly exacerbated with the copious amounts of snowfall in December.

In a related agenda item, the board also discussed roadway sight lines that have been affected by the snow and will be working with John Herbst, the township contractor, to remove snowbanks as needed to increase visibility.

In yet another winter related item, the issue of snowmobile trespassing was discussed and the board has been in contact with both the DNR Conservation Officer in the area, as well as the SCSO to address the situation.

Crosswalks

In a hold over item from December, Larson reported on his efforts to work with Sherburne County to install flashing speed lights at both ends of town, as well as a pair of crosswalks to increase the safety for pedestrians. It was noted that three different bus routes stop in town, including from Becker, Foley and St. Cloud districts.

Larson reported that he is working with Sheriff Joel Brott, as well as Sherburne County staff on the necessary road studies and traffic counts to make the project happen. Financing for the lights has yet to be decided, as well as the final placement of the lights.

In Other Business, the Board:

• Heard from SCSO Commander Ben Zawacki about the 92 calls for service for December, up from 72 in 2021 during the same period. Traffic stops and security checks accounted for the increase;

• Heard from Fire Chief Ron Koren about December’s 22 calls for service from the CLFD, of which five originated in Palmer, all medicals;

• Discussed Feb. 11’s Ice Day and the many details that will go into the annual gathering. Although it is not a township sanctioned or directed celebration, the supervisors expressed their confidence in the organizers to put on a safe event;

• Approved a contact with the Tri-County Humane Society to provide stray dog boarding;

• Set the date for the annual Board of Equalization as April 18th at 9 a.m.;

• Discussed the ski trails that are open at Palmer Park;

• Discussed the renewal of the lease with the SCSO for usage of the office and storage area at Palmer Town Hall;

• Heard an update on the 2022 gopher bounty season, noting that 2,739 pairs of gopher feet were turned in for bounty by a total of eight trappers. The current rate calls for a $3 payment per gopher and the trapper with the most luck (or skill) this year turned in 287 gophers. Treasurer Roger Johnson reminded everyone that any citizen earning more than $600 in payments in a year will be issued a 1099 for tax purposes to ensure that Uncle Sam gets their share of the catch.