Columbus Snow Policies

Mail Truck and Mailbox

Often the Department of Public Works receives phone calls in the winter from residents stating that a plow truck hit their mailbox and knocked it over. In reality, the post that the mailbox is on has rotted away and the weight of the snow coming off the end of the plow blade is enough force to knock it over. If this occurs to your mailbox, you will be left with the responsibility to repair it. When installing a mailbox please follow these guidelines from the United States Postal Service.

Guidelines For Mailbox Placement
  • Position your mailbox 41”-45” from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox or point of mail entry.
  • Place your mailbox 6”-8” back from the curb.
  • If you do not have a raised curb, contact your local postmaster for guidance at 800-275-8777.
  • Put your house or apartment number on the mailbox.
  • If your mailbox is on a different street from your house or apartment, put your full street address on the box.

Sec. 98-79. Winter parking regulations

(1) Declaration of Snow Emergency.  A snow emergency is declared when a snowfall is predicted by the National Weather Service to reach a depth of 3 inches or more during any period of 24 hours or less.  A snow emergency will be considered to exist whether or not the Director of Public Works has declared a snow emergency under this ordinance.  The Director of Public Works, or designee, is hereby authorized to declare a snow emergency watch in advance of the conditions established in this ordinance by reason of forecasted heavy snow or blizzard, and all provisions of this ordinance are to become effective immediately upon the declaration of a snow emergency watch and shall remain in effect for a period of 48 hours or until such time as snow removal operations have been declared completed by the Director of Public Works or his designee. This section shall apply from November 15 through April 15 inclusive.

(2) It shall be unlawful to park any vehicle on any public street or alley in the downtown area of the City between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. after a snow emergency has been declared. For purposes of this section, "downtown district" is defined as follows: 

(a) James Street from Dickason Boulevard to Water Street;

(b) Ludington Street from Mill Street to Harrison Street; 

(c) Dickason Boulevard from James Street to Church Street;

(d) Mill Street from S. Ludington Street to S. Spring Street; and

(e) Harrison Street from S. Water Street to S. Dickason Boulevard

(3) It shall be unlawful to park any vehicle on any public street or alley in the City at any time after a snow emergency is declared and until after the snow emergency is lifted.  This provision applies to all parkin g spaces within the corporate limits of the City, except for eight (8) designated angle parking spots on Dickason Blvd. to accommodated Amtrak overflow parking from November 15 through January 15.  Permits for overflow parking will be issued by Amtrak agent with notification of year, make and model, color and license plate identification of the vehicle to the City Police and City Public Works Department.

(4) For all parking lots owned by the City, beginning at midnight of November 30 of each year through midnight of March 31 of each year, alternate side parking rules shall apply in that on odd days vehicles are to be parked in odd rows and on even days vehicles are to be parked in even rows.  The date after midnight shall determine if parking should be in odd or even rows.  The Water Street lot shall have no overnight parking allowed.  The City shall install signage in all municipal parking lots indicating odd rows and even rows and the terms and conditions of this section.

(5) Whenever any police officer shall find an unattended vehicle violating the terms of this ordinance, such officer may provide for the removal of such vehicle, at owner's expense, to the nearest safe storage location. 

(6) The City shall erect snow emergency notification signage at all entryways to the City and activate or display them when a snow emergency is declared and shall deactivate or remove the signs when the snow emergency is lifted.  The City shall erect signage at all municipal parking lots notifying the public of parking regulations during a snow emergency.  Further, on or before November 1 of each year, the Public Works Director shall publish a notice of winter parking regulations in the official City newspaper, and on the City website and other social media accounts.

(7) Pursuant to the provisions of Section 66.325, Stats., the Director of Public Works is authorized to order the erection of temporary "No Parking" signs at any time during the existence of any emergency which impairs or prevents the full or safe use of any highway, street, alley or municipal parking lot.

(8) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Code, any person violating the provisions of this ordinance regarding winter parking regulations shall forfeit not more than $50.00.  If a vehicle is removed/towed, penalties are provided for in section 98-152 of the Municipal Code.

(Code 1978, § 7.03(3); Ord. No. 665-11, § 1, 9-20-11; Ord. No. 682-12, § 1, 10-16-12; Ord. No. 685-13, § 2, 2-26-13; Ord. No. 712-14, §§ 1—3, 11-3-14; Ord. No. 713-14, §§ 1, 2, 11-21-14; Ord. No. 736-17, § 1, 7-31-17) 

Sec. 86-226. Sidewalks to be kept clear

The owner or occupant of any lot or parcel shall promptly each day remove all snow and ice that may have fallen or accumulated upon the sidewalk in front of such lot or parcel, provided when ice has so formed that it cannot be removed, the owner or occupant shall keep the same sprinkled with a material that will prevent the sidewalk from being dangerous to pedestrians. If the owner or occupant fails to comply with this section, the superintendent of public works shall cause the snow or ice to be removed or sprinkled as required in this section, the cost thereof to be assessed against the property as a special tax.

Municipal Code City of Columbus, Wisconsin, Codified through Ord. No. 521-98, enacted March 3, 1998. \ municipal code \ chapter 86 Streets, sidewalks and other public places* \ article vii. Snow and ice removal \ Sec. 86-226. Sidewalks to be kept clear.

(a) Time limitations. The owner, occupant or person in charge of each residence, building or lot in the City abutting any street right-of-way containing a sidewalk, shall clear the sidewalk of snow and ice to the width of the sidewalk, including all ADA compliant ramps that lead from the end of the sidewalk to the paved street within 24 hours after cessation of a snowfall and shall thereafter cause the sidewalk to be kept clear of snow and ice. 

(b) Notice. In the event that the public works director or designee observes a sidewalk whose owner, occupant or person in charge has failed to clear the sidewalk of snow and ice within 24 hours after end of snow fall or in the event that the public works director or designee receives a complaint about a sidewalk whose owner, occupant or person in charge has failed to clear the sidewalk of snow and ice within 24 hours after end of snow fall, the public works director or designee shall give written notice to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property that the ordinance has been violated and that the owner, occupant or person in charge shall clear the sidewalk of snow and ice within 24 hours of date and time of notice. The notice shall also state that in the event the sidewalk is not cleared within the required time period, the public works director or designee shall cause the snow and ice to be removed and the cost thereof, including administrative costs, shall be billed to the property owner as a special charge under Wis. Stats. § 66.0627. Failure to remove snow and ice from a sidewalk pursuant to this ordinance is deemed to be a risk to public safety authorizing abatement as set forth herein.  The cost of snow and ice removal, along with administrative costs shall be established by resolution of the common council and amended from time to time.

(c) Other remedies. In addition to remedies set forth in subsection 86-226(b) the city may issue and serve on the owner, occupant, or person in charge of any property who is in violation of the ordinance a municipal citation. 

(Code 1978, § 8.06(1); Ord. No. 559-02, § IV, 2-18-03; Ord. No. 568-03, § I, 4-14-03; Ord. No. 641-09, §§ I—V, 1-2-09; Ord. No. 751-19, §  1, 11-19-19) 

Sec. 86-227. Deposit in streets restricted

No person shall cause snow from his premises to be deposited onto the sidewalk abutting thereon or onto any street in the City.

(Code 1978, § 8.06(2))

Severability. If any portion of this Ordinance or its application on any person or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of this Ordinance a whole or any other provision herein or its application shall not be affected.

Effective Date. This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its passage and posting as required by law.  Columbus Snow Removal Ordinance

Sec. 86-228. Deposit on another's property prohibited

No person shall cause snow to be plowed or otherwise deposited onto the property of another.  In the event of violation of this section, both the operator of the snowplow or other snow removal equipment and the owner of the property from which the snow was removed shall be deemed in violation of this article and liable to the city for the cost of removing such unauthorized deposit of snow as well as being subject to the penalties provided in section 1-14 of the municipal code.

(Code 1978, § 8.06(3))