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Citizens support reduced parking enforcement

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  • | 12:41 p.m. December 27, 2012
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During a public hearing that took place during the Dec. 3 City Commission meeting, three residents spoke in favor of amending the current hours of enforcement for the city’s parking regulations.

Addressing timed parking in the Hillview area, Mary Ciner explained that she has brought a women’s social group to a restaurant on Hillview Street for the past couple years.

“One of the reasons I picked this location was the ample parking surrounding the restaurant,” she said. “Now, with timed parking on Saturdays, I do not feel comfortable as I have to remind them to keep an eye on the clock so as not to get a ticket. I will not be bringing them back until I am assured that parking is not going to be timed on Saturdays.”

She went on to say, “We meet year-round, so the restaurant will be losing 20 to 40 customers monthly.”

Ciner called for timed parking to end at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. on weeknights and suggested that the city put “patches” on the existing signs that display the amended parking hours, rather than absorbing the cost of replacing hundreds of parking signs citywide.

Ron Soto, owner of Soto’s Optical, told commissioners he had discussed this matter previously with Commissioner Paul Caragiuloand said, “I walked up and down Main Street asking the different merchants how they feel as far as do we want two hour or three hour parking. The vast majority said they want to leave it at two-hour parking. Just about everybody said they want it to stop at 6 o’clock---when the financial institutions stop, the meter maid should stop too.”

Soto also told commissioners that merchants favored a return to the free, untimed parking on Saturdays that existed before the paid parking experiment.

Eileen Hampshire, owner of the Art to Walk On rug store, agreed with Soto’s comments, joking that “he stole my thunder,” in regard to the remarks she planned to make.

In the end, the speakers and the merchants had their wishes fulfilled when commissioners unanimously agreed to enforce two-hour timed parking from 9 a.m. until 6 .p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be no timed parking on Saturdays or Sundays and these new regulations are now in effect.

One issue addressed by Commissioner Terry Turner, but not acted upon, is the issue of employee parking and how to avoid having employees parked in prime parking spots during peak operating hours.

A few ideas were kicked around (employee stickers, affordable parking in the Whole Foods garage) but no decisions were made.

City Manager Tom Barwin told commissioners he would be working on the issue and he would report back to them at a future meeting.


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