Street parking rules rile Patterson Council
By: JEAN L. KAESS
PATTERSON — Ordinances introduced Tuesday night were done largely to clarify language in existing regulations governing the City of Patterson.
However, a new law governing parking on city streets will reverse the current law in its entirety.
It proved to be a point of contention among council members.
Currently, parking is permitted on any street at any time, unless the city council specifically prohibits such action. The ordinance on the table reverses that action.
Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle said the ordinance is necessary to keep residents from “using the streets as their garages.” The problem largely is in residential areas where personal cars and trucks are parked on the street and emergency vehicles can’t navigate the roadways.
Councilman Joe Russo voiced his displeasure with the ordinance, saying it would be inconvenient for people who have little parking area but need room to accommodate parties, weddings, funerals and the like.
LaSalle countered by saying his department always enforces such ordinances using common sense in these situations.
Russo said he believes an exception needs to be written into the law to explicitly spell out allowances for those situations. The first time there is a challenge to a ticket or the law itself, he said, the town will be forced to fall back on its laws as written. Common sense will not be a factor, he said. Councilwoman Sandra Turner agreed.
Mayor Rodney Grogan noted that the schools, churches and bars that did not have parking requirements when they were constructed need to be grandfathered in under the new ordinance in some fashion so that they are not affected by its requirements.
“Respectfully, sir, we need to take a stance,” LaSalle told Grogan.
The bars are not the problem, he said, as patrons most often walk to and from those establishments.
Town attorney Russel Cremaldi suggested the board might consider timed parking or another item allowing parking on streets during specific times in certain areas.
LaSalle said manpower could be an issue with policing timed parking.
Another issue the ordinance may create, council members said, is parking on sidewalks when residents move their autos from the roadway. However, Cremaldi said ordinances already in place prohibit such action.
The item will be up for further discussion during a public hearing and prior to adoption.
Other ordinances introduced by the council concern requiring the mobile homes and mobile home parks in B-business zones to be governed by the same rules applied to those in T-trailer zones; an ordinance defining recreational vehicles, motor homes, travel trailers and campers; and an ordinance stating where those temporary facilities are allowed to be utilized and for how long.
The last ordinance disallows using RVs as permanent residences. It will allow them to be on city utilities for no more than 30 days per calendar year.
In other action, the council:
—Learned the Catherine Street sidewalk project received a low bid of $94,154.20 from HHP Construction Group of LaPlace. The city’s five percent matching cost comes to $4,707.71.
—Learned a Nov. 22 public hearing is set to be held with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to move forward with the water plant application. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at town hall and is to discuss the separation of residential and commercial water fees.
—Announced online payments for water and gas bills as well as police department fines are in the last phase of development and should be available in January.
—Passed a resolution supporting the Friends of the Patterson Community Center Coalition which partners with local organizations to fight obesity, diabetes and substance abuse. The organization will hold a gala Nov. 19 at the Patterson Area Civic Center. Numerous programs are forthcoming as well. Contact Pam at city hall, 395-5205, for more information.
—Recognized Hattie Watts Elementary School’s status as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School.
—Announced the town’s Veteran’s Day observance will be Friday at 11 a.m., at Patterson City Hall.
—Passed resolutions of respect for the late Allen Williams and Frank Governale.
—Announced city closings for Nov. 24 and 25 in observance of Thanksgiving.
—Asked residents witnessing violations to the loud music, vicious dog, sagging pants or other such “nuisance” ordinances to call 395-6161 with a license plate number, vehicle description and location.
All members of the council were present for Tuesday’s monthly meeting.