Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tonight's Council Agenda

Municipal Council meets tonight at 6:30 pm at Borough Hall. Note the change of time (meetings used to be at 7:30). Hopefully the weather won't be awful tonight. Read the full agenda here, but a few things caught my eye.

First, the new Zoning Ordinance. Hopefully Council will approve it tonight and, more hopefully, Zoning and Planning will use the new ordinance the way it's intended, and not simply ignore it to grant variances to every developer that comes along.

Second, there's to be a discussion of parking issues, specifically "Lazy parking, rolling stops, double parking." I'm going to skip over "rolling stops." That's not a parking issue, it's a moving violation issue, and unless we're going to install force fields at intersections to make cars stop, I can't think how it can be prevented other than to catch drivers when they do it, which would require a bigger police force than we have.

I also don't understand why double parking requires discussion. If I see cars and trucks double parked on certain streets every time I venture across town, they shouldn't be hard for our meter maids to find and ticket.

Combatting lazy parking on the streets is impossible unless we line parking spaces all over town. Where they're already lined, like downtown or in parking lots, again, simply ticket those cars that take up more than one space.

I think it's interesting that the parking discussion only covers what drivers do wrong and doesn't mention what intrinsically creates parking problems in town. For instance, approving development that brings in more cars than a neighborhood's parking spaces can handle, like the townhouses at 1202 Dekalb St. And continuing to allow variances for houses that have more apartments inside than parking spots outside. And not enough free public parking in areas where we should be encouraging retail development and visitation--like downtown, Arts Hill, and West Marshall.

Third, Public Works will review which streets need paving and how much it should cost. I hope they include Swede, a major route into downtown from the north which took a lot of damage from last winter's ice, on top of simply getting a lot of use. It's a lumpy, bumpy mess. And several streets in the West End that are filled with half-patched potholes, the worst, I think, being Oak Street.

Last, 3 Special Council Meetings have been set for "Main Street Economic Development Project Fuego." I couldn't find anything on this, so hopefully all will be explained at tonight's meeting. The special council dates are tomorrow, May 22, and next Wednesday and Thursday, the 28th and 29th.

I wish there was a way of knowing more about all the agenda items before each Municipal Council meeting. With little or no information, it's difficult for residents to know if the topics will impact them and if they should come and voice an opinion.

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