City committee backs off on parking plan

A committee charged with the task of dealing with boulevard parking in Vandalia still wants to see problems related to that issue resolved.

But the group of city alderman is, at least for the time being, is backing off on an earlier recommendation for parking restrictions.

A couple of months ago, Mayor Rick Gottman asked the streets and sewers committee – Chairman Bret Brosman, Larry Cable and Chad Feldpouch – to try to come up with a way of resolving boulevard parking problems.

“It’s unacceptable,” Gottman said at the July 21 meeting of the city council, talking about areas where grass on the city right of way has been killed by parking.

The first time that it met to discuss the issue, on Sept. 3, the three aldermen agreed to have the city enforce an ordinance that prohibits parking on sidewalks.

The committee also agreed to recommend that the city implement boulevard parking restrictions.

Its initial recommendation called for an ordinance amendment that would allow residents to park on the city right of way only when that area had been improved with concrete, asphalt or CA-6 rock.

But, at its meeting on Monday, the committee agreed to support an amendment calling for such a restriction only on Fifth Street between Randolph and Orchard streets. It also voted to remove CA-6 from the list of acceptable parking surfaces.

Committee members dropped CA-6 from the list because, while it is the least-expensive of the three options, they don’t like its appearance. Cable also noted that the rock would be pushed or washed into the street by rain and traffic.

Brosman said he doesn’t like the idea of passing an ordinance for the entire city when the main problem with parking on city right of way exists in only a small area of town.

“I know there are people who don’t have any other option (than parking on the right of way),” Brosman said.

He also said that he spoke with the people living at one of the main problem locations, people who had just recently moved to that location. The new residents, he said, want to get the right of way repaired, and do not plan to park on the boulevard in the future.

Cable suggested that the committee stick with its initial recommendation. “I think this will cover anything that comes up.”

But, Gottman said, he doesn’t want to pass an ordinance with that in mind.

“We’re not going to have an ordinance on the books that we’re not going to enforce, have it on the books just in case something comes up,” Gottman said.

Brosman, Cable and City Administrator Jimmy Morani agreed that city-wide restrictions on right of way parking would likely create a number of problems, particularly – they feel – because the city could not grandfather in any improvements already made by residents.

Morani pointed out that even if it does not put such parking restrictions on the books for the entire city, it could address problem areas with an existing ordinance.

“Just because we don’t prohibit parking (on the right of way) doesn’t mean that they can damage our right of way,” Morani said.

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