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'Chairing' is illegal; people can be fined for littering

Updated: Monday, February 17 2014, 10:09 PM CST
Reported by: Jesse Knutson 

LEMOYNE --  Everyone knows that snow and ice accompany winter storms when the temperature dips below freezing, but in many municipalities in Central Pennsylvania, chairs have also flooded the streets.

That’s right: chairs.

When the streets are filled with snow, many residents head out the door to start shoveling away a space for their car to park, and to reserve the space they worked hard to clear when they leave, they put a chair in the middle of the cleared parking spot.

Many people have dubbed this action of spot saving as “chairing.”

Chairing has created a lot of controversy in local municipalities, with arguments breaking out between neighbors, and police removing the chairs that are illegally placed in the street.

Charles Swope of Lemoyne shoveled his parking spot after more than a foot of snow fell in the Susquehanna Valley, and knows first-hand why people put their chairs out to reserve their spots.

“It’s quite a bit of work to shovel out one of those spots,” Swope explained, adding, “Whenever you go out, somebody immediately pulls in (to your spot).”

Swope said because he was only one of a few that shoveled their parking spots, he decided to claim his spot.

“We put the chair out when it really got bad.”

Putting a chair in the street may seem harmless, but it’s illegal, even if it’s near the curb, so police have taken action.

“Police came by, they just grabbed all the chairs, took them, and threw them into a dumpster somewhere.” Swope said.

CBS 21’s Jesse Knutson spoke to West Shore Regional Police Chief Michael Hope who confirmed that police did remove and dispose of the chairs, but he explained they’re actually taking it easy on the residents of Lemoyne and not citing them, just removing the hazards in the street.

“We certainly understand putting the pain and aggravation of digging out, especially with the ice and the snow,” Hope explained, “But it’s just, you’re not permitted to place things onto the street, into the right of ways. It’s illegal, it’s littering.”

Chairing has also caused a lot of controversy between neighbors, with people parking in spots that other people have cleared whether there’s a chair there or not.

“There’s no need to ill-will towards any of your neighbors,” Lemoyne Mayor Larissa York said, adding, “There’s no need to put things in the street.”

York says there have been multiple reports of arguments between neighbors over chairing, which she thinks is completely unnecessary.

“We all live next to each other, we all live in the same community, we all need to help each other.” York said.

To help each other, York suggests that neighbors get together to help each other clear their streets, so there is no need to reserve spots.

If you don’t have the resources available to clear your street, York says you can call the police station, or her office.

“If you need help shoveling, you call me.” York said. “I’ll get a shovel brigade together and we’ll be at your house.”

York and Hope say that the streets would be more cleared from snow if people removed their cars during snowstorms so that snow plows could get through and clear the streets.

When there are cars on the streets, PennDOT plows and the municipality’s plows are not able to cover the whole road.

If you have any questions about the plowing in your local municipality or the rules on chairing, call your local government or police station. 
'Chairing' is illegal; people can be fined for littering

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