As winter winds down with a whopping total of 7″ of snow this year, I can’t stop thinking about being required to provide snow storage easements on a recent subdivision plan. Obviously, the developer agreed to add these to the plan, as it wasn’t worth an argument a few weeks from getting approval, however as I sat there at my desk drafting them in, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Are these really necessary?” In today’s world, residential lots seem riddled with restrictions from easements. Stormwater BMP easements, sanitary sewer easements, access easements, walking trail easements, conservation easements, waterline easements, drainage easements, riparian buffer easements and NOW snow easements? I actually live on a cul-de-sac, and while I’ve lived there for only 5 years, I have been witness to what I would consider very large snowstorms for our area. Can you guess how many times I sat there thinking I wish these plows would stop pushing the snow off the road and onto my lawn? Zero. I could be wrong but I would like to think most, if not all people, would have no problem with plowed snow as long as the plow doesn’t tear up their grass or knock over their mailbox.

So considering I’ve never been a snowplow driver, even though it was my childhood dream to be one, I’m going to give the Township and their Public Works Department the benefit of the doubt on this one. Maybe just living on a cul-de-sac or driving through neighborhoods after major snowstorms doesn’t qualify me to decide if another set of easements is really necessary. I mean I can only imagine, we’re a couple days away from a snowstorm and the public works crew is sitting around the table planning where they are going to put all that snow. “Alright guys, I know for the past 40 years we’ve been struggling to clear the snow from all those cul-de-sacs out there, but I have great news for you. You know that new development off Main Street, all our problems have been solved, you have an extra 10 feet past the sidewalk where you can push all the snow. But make sure you bring that full set of land development plans to keep in your truck so you can find out exactly where that easement begins and ends.” “You got it, Boss!”

Ok, so I honestly can’t see that happening, but let’s assume that it does. As I said before I’ve never plowed snow, so maybe these easements will make things easier and cause fewer headaches. I can only imagine if we’re providing them here in Southeastern PA where we average something like 36″ a year, with statistical analysis showing that we can expect a single storm to exceed 20″ on average once every 10 years and snowstorms that exceed 10″, about every other year; places like Buffalo and Upstate New York must have snow storage easements all over the place. Right? I mean they get like at least three times the snow fall we get. Where do they put it all? Do they not allow cul-de-sacs? What do you think? Do we need more easements?

PS -If we do happen to get the big blizzard next week that is currently being predicted, send us your cul-de-sac snow pictures to dgibbons@dhowell.com