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City considers parking restrictions
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McMinnville officials are considering a measure that would discourage parking on city streets, as well as require parked vehicles to leave a space yet to be determined from the center line.
“I had heard there was a problem in Westwood and we have a city-wide problem,” said Streets and Sanitation Committee chairman Rick Barnes. “People shouldn’t be parking on the street if the street is too narrow.”
The current city ordinance allows the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to restrict or prohibit parking vehicles on specified streets, or parts of streets, or in specified areas.
McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock says garbage collection day can be difficult on his employees when not enough room is left on the street for the trash truck to make it between cars.
He is in favor of requiring off-street parking, but he warns that some homes do not have driveways.
“I want people to park off street, believe me,” said Brock. “However, there are a lot of people who don’t have off-street parking. It’s a problem for sanitation. It’s a problem for a lot of other reasons. Basically, the only time the police can get involved is when someone blocks the whole road or causes a danger.”
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton added, “If there is an area that is determined to be dangerous or unsafe, signs of no parking can be placed and we can get involved. Parking on the street has been an issue since the day I walked in the door.”
Prior to being named chief, Denton was a law enforcement officer for 30 years.
Alderman Billy Wood says there is a property owner in Westwood who prefers to park on the street and not in the driveway.
“She has a driveway. She just won’t use it,” said Wood. “Kevin Lawrence (former fire chief) came over and said a fire truck could not get down the street. There is a deep ditch on the other side of the street and it’s just not possible.”
Denton says current ordinance does not allow his department to ticket the property owner for not using her driveway or instruct her not to park on the street.
“Again, there is nothing to force them to park in their driveway,” he said. “I have been dealing with this for 31 or 32 years.”
A fire truck requires approximately 12 feet of clearance.
“It seems to me we could amend that ordinance to say 12 feet,” said Vice Mayor Ben Newman. “If there is not at least 12 feet of passable area, the department can ticket them.”
Alderman Rick Barnes suggested the ordinance be changed to require a minimum amount of distance between the car and the center of the street.
Brock agreed.
“That’s a good idea,” he said. “It’s enforceable. It’s measurable. If I park in front of my house and I leave 10 feet and but my neighbor comes and parks in front of his house, who is the guilty one? Who was there first? The center line measurement makes more sense.”
Alderman Ken Smith questioned if any other city has an ordinance that says, “If you have a driveway, you are not allowed to park on the street.”
“I found a pretty good ordinance that says if off-street parking is available, you must use it,” said McMinnville Planning and Zoning manager Josh Baker.
In areas where on-street parking is allowed, current city ordinance states:
• A vehicle’s right wheels to be parallel to and within 18 inches of the right edge or curb of the street.
• No person shall park any vehicle upon a street, other than an alley, in such a manner or under such conditions as to leave available less than 10 feet of the width of the roadway for free movement of vehicular traffic.
• No person shall park or leave a vehicle parked on any public street or alley for more than 72 hours without the prior approval of the chief of police.
Barnes made a motion to have the city’s legal counsel look at the current ordinance and make a recommendation for changing it to include the center line restriction and that off-street parking, where available, must be used.
“The main thing to me is leaving so much space from the center line, because that’s a safety issue if a fire truck has to go down the street,” said Barnes.