- Public Works
Winter parking regulations run November 1 - April 1 from 2AM - 7AM.
When Will the City Start Snow or Ice Control Operations?
The Public Works Director, or responsible person, will decide when to begin snow or ice control operations. The criteria for that decision is:
- Snow accumulation of 2 inches (not a minimum) or more
- Drifting of snow that causes problems for travel
- Icy conditions which seriously affect travel
- Time of snowfall in relationship to heavy use of streets.
Snow and ice control operations are expensive and involve the use of limited personnel and equipment. Consequently, snowplowing operations will not generally be conducted for snowfall less than 2 inches.
Priorities and Schedule for Which Streets Will be Plowed
The City has classified streets based on the street function, traffic volume and importance to the welfare of the community. Those streets are classified, as “Snow Plow Routes” will be plowed first. These are high volume, which connect major sections of the city and provide access for emergency, fire, police and medical services.
The second priority streets are those streets providing access to schools and commercial businesses, low volume residential streets, alleys and city parking lots.
Snow and ice control operations will be conducted only when weather conditions do not endanger the safety of city employees and equipment. Factors that may delay snow and ice control operations include; severe cold, significant winds and limited visibility.
Use of Sand, Salt and Other Chemicals
The city will use sand, salt and other chemicals when there are hazardous ice or slippery conditions. The city is concerned about the effect of such chemicals on the environment and will limit its use for that reason.
Is your mailbox designed to stand up to the rigors of the winter plowing season? What happens if your mailbox is damaged by plowing activities? The answer depends on how the damage occurred.
If your mailbox is actually struck by a snow plow, the city will repair or replace the mailbox, providing it’s a standard design that conforms to U.S. postal and City specifications for minimum height and setback.
Mailboxes should be installed and maintained to withstand snow coming off the end of the plow; however, if damage occurs due to snow discharge or snow storage, the city will not be responsible for repairs.
City staff investigates each complaint. If an inspection shows that the mailbox was hit by a plow or other piece of equipment, a temporary mailbox is installed. Then in the spring, repairs are made to conforming installation.
If no signs of impact are evident, the resident is provided information about possible reasons for the problem. These may include inadequate construction or materials, needed maintenance or other sources of damage.
In order to avoid problems with your mailbox during the winter season, residents are encouraged to follow these guidelines:
- Make sure your mailbox conforms to postal and city standards. That means the bottom of the box is 48 inches above the street, and the mailbox is mounted so the door, when closed, does not extend beyond the back of the concrete curb.
- In general, avoid installation of paper boxes, flower planters or other attachments beneath the mailbox. However, if you do install these items, be sure they are set back at least 10 inches from the front of the mailbox. The city will not be responsible for damage to these items from snow discharge.
- Conduct regular inspections and perform routine maintenance on your mailbox, just as you would for other parts of your property.
- Clear snow away from the mailbox area after each plowing. Snow that remains in front of mailboxes will get compacted by post office vehicles and make subsequent plowing less effective.
Questions about the mailbox policy or snow removal procedures should be directed to the Public Works Department 320-557-3819.
St. Joseph has policies regulating the use of boulevard and easement areas. The boulevard (the distance from the back of curb to the property line) is part of the street right-of-way. It is used for sewer, water and street installation and maintenance as well as electric, gas, telephone and cable TV lines. The boulevard is typically 15 feet in residential neighborhoods. In addition, in residential areas, there is typically a 5 to 6-foot drainage and utility easement along the rear and interior lot lines and 10 to 12 feet along streets and alleys of each residential lot. Boulevard and easement areas are designed for public utilities, storm water drainage and the storage of snow plowed from the street. Items such as rocks, posts, trees, etc., should not be placed in those areas.
If your yard or boulevard has been marked with paint or small flags, this means that someone is planning to perform work in the area, and has called Gopher State One Call system for a utility locate. The white markings represent the proposed excavation area. The other color markings and flags represent underground utilities that are located in and near the proposed excavation area. Often the flags identify the parties who are doing the work. You may wish to contact them to determine what activities are planned.
Before planting trees or placing other items on the street right-of-way or within adjacent drainage and utility easements, residents should check with the Planning Department (320) 229-9425 to determine minimum setbacks from the street curb.
Under state law, if you are planning to do any work on your property that involves excavation greater than six inches deep, you need to contact Gopher State One Call system 48 hours before you plan to dig. Gopher State One Call will notify any known parties who have underground utilities in the area that a locate has been ordered. The operators are then required by law to mark their utilities with paint or flags. There is no fee for this service. The number for Gopher State One Call is 811.