Patterson parking law vote is split
By: JEAN L. KAESS
PATTERSON — After four months of public discussions and numerous options being presented regarding an ordinance governing parking on public streets, the ordinance was adopted as originally presented.
The new law reverses the current law in its entirety. Parking was permitted on any street at any time, unless the city council specifically prohibits such action. Now parking is not allowed on any street unless the council specifically allows such action.
It has proven to be a point of contention between councilmembers.
It is well known that there is not adequate parking around churches, schools and certain businesses. These were not addressed in the ordinance, but Police Chief Patrick LaSalle said his officers use common sense in such matters and have never issued a ticket for parking violations in a school zone.
Councilman Joe Russo’s primary concern was with the “everyday life” events such as funerals, weddings, parties, caring for a sick relative or simply having a home in which all occupants work and have cars to get to work.
“The issue is we are constantly making excuses for people using the street as a parking lot,” LaSalle said.
Councilmember Claire Sawyer agreed that these were the people being targeted. She said she rode through town and found a man doing a brake job in the street at 11 a.m. and another two streets over at 12:30 p.m. the same day working on his transmission in the street. This wasn’t being done because they didn’t have parking area, she noted.
While concerns were expressed about leaving the ordinance wide open and not including specific parking scenarios such as church on Sunday, Russo indicated it was better to leave the law this way so that specific “hot spots” that would develop could be addressed by police who were not hampered by verbiage.
Others expressed concern that while they trust the current police department, what happens in the future?
“If we can trust the police department to protect our lives, we can trust them to use their judgement to write tickets,” Councilman Larry Mendoza said.
The board approved the measure 3-2 with Russo and Sandra Turner voting against.
Also approved was an ordinance requiring mobile homes and mobile home parks in B-business zones to be governed by the same rules applied to those in T-trailer zones. It was approved unanimously as presented.
The ordinance governing how recreational vehicles, motor homes, travel trailers and campers are allowed to be utilized and for how long also was approved but with some changes.
It still disallows use of such homes for more than 30 days per calendar year. Changes to what was presented concern requirements for construction of an RV park. This ordinance also was approved unanimously.
Adoption of a remaining ordinance defining recreational vehicles, motor homes, travel trailers and campers will be taken up at a later meeting.
Another ordinance that will be considered at a later date is one governing cemeteries.
Because the city purchased the historic Folse Cemetery at Hickory and Williams streets from a sheriff’s sale, it is required by the state to have an ordinance in place to govern upkeep and other similar issues.
Mayor Rodney Grogan stressed that the city is not getting into the “cemetery business,” nor is it targeting the larger church-run cemeteries. Primary problems come from smaller, privately owned perpetual care cemeteries where upkeep is not always a top concern.
In other action, the board:
—Approved a permit for Good Hope Baptist Church’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, which includes a march from the church to Carr-Roberson American Legion Post 589.
—Appointed Kevin Savoie to the planning and zoning commission.
—Recognized John Carmody and Eric Boudreaux for the achievement of becoming Eagle Scouts.
—Learned employees will return to city hall Tuesday. Re-construction will be ongoing while they are in the building.