Friday, January 18, 2008

New Town residents want the snow plowed

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

Some residents of New Town are contemplating a class action lawsuit against the City of St. Charles after the city refused to plow their streets with the last snow storm.

When the streets weren’t plowed, residents called Councilman Mike Klinghammer and were told, “The city hasn’t accepted the streets and Whittaker (The developer) is responsible.” The streets were so bad that it was very difficult and dangerous for emergency vehicles to exceed 10 miles per hour causing a public safety hazard for the New Town residents.

The acceptance of the streets conveys maintenance to the City of St. Charles but does not prevent city services from being provided. The First Capitol News searched the ordinances of the city to find support of the city’s position and couldn’t find any written law. The city’s position is that the streets are private until formally accepted. This position is not supported with an ordinance that states the streets are private according to current law.

New Town has a legally approved plat that shows streets and has an application for acceptance on file, and has been inspected. In addition, the police are able to write speeding tickets, parking violations as well as enforce open container laws. The police service would not be available if the streets were private.
The developer did not pay for the plowing of the streets. The cost is passed back to the New Town property owners even though they have been paying taxes to the city for city services. The New town residents are reasonable and would seek the actual cost spent for plowing from the city.

Currently the residents of New Town pay taxes like every other property owners in the city. These taxes are to be used on services the city provides including snow plows. Snow plowing is a service and public safety issue. With the last snow the residents had to pay a private company to plow as well as city taxes. The FCN asked a local attorney if the resident’s case was valid. He confirmed it was very valid and said the residents could actually sue for more damages. This is a classic case of taxation without representation.
Any other neighborhood that has had the same problem is encouraged to contact the FCN. The suit can be expanded to include other areas that have had the same issues.