By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
A revised Winter Parking ordinance was approved this week in City Hall.
At Tuesday's Common Council meeting, council members voted "yes" to the changes made to the city's winter parking laws.
The council gave residents the opportunity to chime in about the ordinance in a public hearing before the council meeting, but the only person to speak as a member of the public was 4th Ward Alderman David Dybas.
Dybas's sole comment was that he would like every spot in the ordinance that it says "may be" to be changed to "shall," referring to vehicle removal.
During the meeting, Dybas reiterated his comment.
"It puts teeth in it," he said.
There was, however, rebuttal from other council members, including 1st Ward Alderman Joseph Isabel.
"I like it the way it is because it gives the chief some discretion," Isabel said.
In the end, Dybas's motion to change the wording was passed.
And the amended ordinance was passed unanimously.
According to the ordinance, one of the changes includes a section saying that on streets that normally have parking on one side, parking is prohibited for 24 hours after the snowfall in the event of a snowfall greater than three inches.
The winter parking rules now include a section on snow emergencies, stating that when a snowfall greater than four inches is forecast, the mayor pay proclaim a snow emergency, which suspends parking on all city streets for a specified period up to 36 hours after the end of the snowfall.
Due to an impending storm, which according to the National Weather Service in Albany is forecast to bring Amsterdam about eight to 10 inches starting today and into Saturday morning, Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane declared a snow emergency Thursday evening, which will put these new winter parking rules into effect.
Any vehicles that are found parked in violation of the winter parking rules or found unattended on any highway or public parking lot that obstruct planned road maintenance will be removed under the direction of the Amsterdam Police Department.
The city has provided various lots throughout the city where residents may park their cars during the snow emergency.
Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said the snow that began overnight will be light.
"We're expecting light snow through the first half of (Friday) and we could pick up up to an inch by the morning," Lipton said, adding that it will accumulate, but will not be heavy.
The heavy snow will begin developing during the afternoon hours through the evening, with 15-20 mile per hour wind gusts.
"It's just a very tricky call because any slight deviation in the expected track could mean the difference between the 8-10 inches to significantly more or less," Lipton said. "Stay tuned to the latest forecast."
The storm is expected to finish up Saturday morning.