District Attorney Lisa Zavogiannis has asked for a second reserved parking space in downtown McMinnville.
The first request came in early 2007 when Zavogiannis asked the city’s Safety Committee to consider allowing a designated spot for her use on Spring Street due to her office having access to that street from a side door. She became the first individual to have a spot deemed “Reserved Parking” for her use.
At that time, the committee was cautioned by former mayor Royce Davenport who said, “One, we have not done this before and second, once you start doing this, you will get requests for others. There are defense attorneys and staff members who will want parking spaces.”
Davenport also said the DA’s office was offered reserved parking spaces in the city lot which were turned down.
The second request came on Tuesday before current Safety Committee members Aldermen Mike Neal, Ryle Chastain and Everett Brock. Zavogiannis asked the committee to consider designating the “Loading Zone” space next to what was Warren County Furniture on East Morford Street as “Reserved Parking” her for criminal investigator.
“I believe this would not be a burden on the surrounding businesses,” Zavogiannis stated in her written request. “In the past my criminal investigator parked in the alley behind the District Attorney’s office. This is no longer a viable parking area. The other business owners who have access to the alley have blocked my investigator from leaving.”
Davenport’s warning was reiterated by Alderman Chastain.
“I think, simply put, if you do this for one, you have to do it for everyone,” Chastain said. “Even though it is the district attorney’s office, John Partin, public defender, doesn’t get a spot and other business owners downtown don’t get a spot. That’s just my personal opinion. If we do it for her, then others will want one. Especially Vanessa Hillis, who the city has already denied a spot for her salon, and other businesses are going to want spots designated for them as well.”
Alderman Ben Newman agreed with Chastain, adding city administrator Bill Brock doesn’t have a reserved parking spot.
“I understand the district attorney’s office has a job to do, just like a lot of other folks have jobs to do downtown,” said Newman. “Mrs. Zavogiannis does have a reserved spot. Her investigator is an employee. She has other employees there. Bill Bock doesn’t have a spot. This is very important business to the city. There are others who don’t have a spot.”
Mayor Jimmy Haley added, “I don’t have a spot.”
McMinnville Public Works is going to put up signs in the alley stating “Do Not Block Alley” due to the city owning a 15-foot strip of it. City administrator Brock instructed those signs to be placed but warned that they might not be 100 percent successful.
“People are people. They park where they take a notion. Then when you try to move people, they take their time about it,” said Brock. “If it’s in that 15-foot strip, they can be ticketed or towed. It’s a tight alley. When they get in there, they can’t get out. There has been some construction going on in one of the buildings. I don’t think the contractor recognizes that it has created a problem.”
The measure was tabled until the next meeting to see if a resolution can be found.