POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE; 1-9-17
Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand issued a statement Monday responding to criticism of a citation issued to a man for pushing snow onto city streets.
"It is a safety issue for all drivers on the road. I have directed officers who are investigating complaints or who observe people moving snow from private property into city streets to issue citations if the citizens do not want to comply with the ordinance."
Whenever it snows, Mitch Fisher is ready to help his neighbors, whether it's clearing the sidewalks or trying to clear the street. When the area's Christmas storm hit, he was out plowing his street with his ATV.
"I take care of the neighbors. They're all elderly and I like to help them out," Fisher said.
On Wednesday, however, a Pocatello police officer cited Fisher for an infraction — placing or depositing material on a public right of way. It carries a cost of more than $200.
Fisher said he was baffled by the situation.
"I tried to talk (the officer) out of it and tell him what I was doing, that I was trying to get it out of the street because (the street) hasn't been plowed since the beginning of snow season," he said. "Of course, he was doing his job, wrote the citation and went on his way."
Chapter nine of Pocatello's city code states, "It is unlawful for any person to deposit, place or allow to remain in or upon any public right of way any material or substance injurious to persons or property." In this case, "public right of way" means the street.
Fisher argues he wasn't moving the snow back into the street, but that he was doing the opposite. He moved the snow into a pile right next to his curb.
"I didn't want it in front of (my neighbors') houses because they can't park. I don't care if it's in front of mine," he said.
Despite the hefty price tag of his citation, Fisher doesn't plan on stopping his snow removal efforts.
"I'll keep doing what I'm doing. I don't care about the city," he said.
Fisher plans on contesting the ticket, hoping to show he wasn't violating city code. The ticket got a lot of attention online when he posted it on the group "You know you grew up in Pocatello when...", where hundreds commented on it and shared it. The post has since been taken down by the group's administrator.