Snow causes car burials in parking lots

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

There was no calm after the storm for many off-campus students.

After nearly a foot of snow hit Bowling Green last week, apartment-dwelling students across town emerged from their apartments to find buried cars and sidewalks slick with ice.

Like other homes and businesses, apartment complexes are required by the city to remove snow and ice from all public walkways within 24 hours after the end of a snow storm.

In addition, landlords bear responsibility for clearing out parking lots. The city cannot plow parking lots because they are considered private property.

Although most landlords meet these minimum requirements, the quality of their work can vary widely.

‘They did OK with the side walks and stuff, but the parking lots were a mess,’ said junior Amy Pfeffer, a resident of The Enclave.

Like many off-campus students in larger complexes, Pfeffer complained about snow plows burying her car when clearing the thoroughfares.

‘They kind of say ‘screw you’ to anyone who can’t move their car,’ she said.

Residents of other apartment complexes shared similar complaints and said they were forced to dig out their vehicles.

‘There doesn’t seem to be an effort to get in between the cars,’ said junior Katie McGreevey, a resident of University Courts.

Most landlords said they attempt to clear out the areas around parked cars.

‘Our crews will come back through again after they’ve cleared the main lot and clear all the empty spaces, but it won’t be perfect,’ said Chris Ostrowski, president of the Wood County Apartment Association and leasing agent for Winthrop Terrace apartments.

In addition to buried cars, icy walkways were another common complaint for students following Wednesday morning’s black ice.

‘They had taken care of it by the end of the day, but their was no attempt to pre-empt it,’ McGreevey said. ‘I came out and saw people sliding around all over the place.’

Property managers said they do what they can to stay ahead of snow and ice, but are often outpaced by the weather.

John Newlove, of John Newlove Real Estate said he employs a five-person crew with two snow-blowers and one plow truck to clear out approximately 750 rental units.

‘They’ll be people who are unhappy, I know that,’ Newlove said. ‘But we have about a ton of salt on hand and we do the best we can to keep ahead of things.’

One of the major problems when it comes to digging out rental properties after a storm is knowing whether or not it is the responsibility of the tenant or the landlord.

‘It should be on your lease agreement – but whether or not people are aware of it is an issue,’ said Doug Rohrs, code enforcement officer for the city.

Unlike apartment complexes, clearing out rented houses is the responsibility of the tenants in most cases. According to Rohrs, public sidewalks often go without being cleared because the tenants are simply unaware of their responsibility.

Walks that aren’t cleared within 24 hours will receive a warning. After another 24 hours has elapsed owners will be fined.

‘We give out huge numbers of warnings after a storm like this,’ he said. ‘And once that warning goes out it’s amazing how fast those walks get cleared.’