Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fire plug survey results

Survey Results – The question was, “If you live in Woodstock, did you realize it is your responsibility to dig out your snow-covered fire hydrant?”

No: 13 (32%)
Yes: 28 (68%)

Thanks to the 41 readers who responded to this survey. Two-thirds of you knew it to be your responsibility; one-third did not.

If there are 7,000 households in Woodstock (probably feer buildings, considering multi-family dwellings), then 2,300 building owners don’t know to dig out.

Of course, there is not a fire hydrant in front of each dwelling, so the burden falls on the poor guy (or gal) in front of whose house the hydrant is.

Maybe this is a good reason for neighbors to pitch in, when it’s time to dig out the hydrant during/after the next big snow.


Kyle S. said...


Can you specify where in the City Code it is noted that residents are "required" to clear around hydrants ? All I find is:


It shall be unlawful for any person to place or deposit accumulations of snow from private property onto any street, road or public way in the city. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than twenty five dollars ($25.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each offense. (Ord. 2315, 11-19-1991)

What if the City plows snow from the street onto and buries the hydrant in front of a resident’s house??

Besides, my property (like most others) ends at the inside edge of the sidewalk. So the snow from the sidewalk is NOT from private property; It is from CITY property. Along with the snow from the street.

So unless there is something written elsewhere. Your survey is mute. Because we would still not be required to remove snow from around hydrants. It is City snow.

Gus said...

Kyle, you make some interesting points. If you haven't read my January 1st article yet, you might want to refer to the information from the Streets Department and WFRD.
There is no law that requires a homeowner to shovel out his hydrant. What I meant by "responsibility" was that, if it's going to get done, then the homeowner is going to have to do it. The City is not going around to clear hydrant access.
I'm not a real estate lawyer (or any other kind of lawyer), but you might find that your property goes to the street and that you have granted an easement at the street edge of the property. I don't think the City owns your sidewalk or the "parkway" (the grass between your sidewalk and the curb or street).
You might have a survey with your closing papers on your home that will show the boundaries of your lot.
Now, to the point of the City snowplows' pushing snow onto your property. If a "person" includes the snowplow driver, then pushing snow to block driveways and sidewalks might fall into that category and become an ordinance violation.
Thanks for your insightful comments.

find the owners manual you fool said...

Wrong about the sidewalk.

Gus said...

manual, care to elaborate on your comment? Are you saying that the City owns the sidewalk in front of a residence or other non-municipal building?

find the owners manual you fool said...

Who replaces the sidewalks homeowner or City? Will the City let you do it yourself? Can the homeowner remove them to eliminate shoveling or enhance landscaping? I pay taxes to the center of the road but cannot do anything to the sidewalk, drive approach, treebank (which the City will not allow trees to be planted in) curb, or roadway without City permit and approval. That is not an easment.

Gus said...

I have read in years past that the City offers a cost-sharing repair/replacement program for deteriorating sections of sidewalks. This leads me to believe the homeowner is responsible for the cost, but the City will chip in from time to time.
Are you sure you pay taxes to the center of the road? I think your property line might stop at the curb and then the City owns the street, which is why it plows it.
I don't know what the rules are about planting or removing trees in the parkway.
I do know one homeowner who stopped ComEd from butchering his trees for the power lines to clear limbs. I don't know why ComEd is allowed to destroy the trees the way it does. Seems to me that they do so merely to lower their tree-trimming costs by having to do it less often.

find the owners manual you fool said...

The P.I.N. attached to my property goes to the center of the street. Just like everyone elses. The sidewalk info you have is completely backwards. The City schedules repair or replacement and the work is done by the contractor who won the bid to do the work for the City.

Gus said...

Why don't you post your PIN here so we can check the public record for your property?

find the owners manual you fool said...

No thanks. You can check anyone elses though they are all the same. Check one of someone who trusts you. make sure you look at a proper plat book and not just the owners plat of survey.