Village council must make the final decision.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- Residents living on some narrow streets in the village may soon see some relief to their parking woes if council passes an ordinance being suggested by the planning commission to handle street parking.
The commission will propose an ordinance allowing homeowners to pave or lay gravel in the public right of way adjacent to the paved road for parking. Commission member Mark Beatrice said the ordinance would apply to streets that are less than 20 feet wide -- primarily Massachusetts and Delaware avenues.
Parking blocks streets: Beatrice said that when people on these smaller streets park on the paved road, other cars can't pass them. Residents, therefore, pull off to the side on the grass-covered right of way, which is not legal.
"A lot of people are already parking along the side of the road and they shouldn't be doing that," said Beatrice. "Some people are buying dirt to put at the edge of the road; that turns to mud and we don't want that."
According to Beatrice, some regulation would not only make it legal for residents to park in the right of way, but would also give village officials some control in determining what materials can be used to pave or mark parking areas along the street.
The commission held a public forum earlier this week to obtain public input. Fire Chief David Comstock voiced concerns about cars parked on the paved road blocking emergency vehicles. He said cars parked off to the side in the right of way do not pose the same problem.
"My position is that I would rather have them park off the street than on the street," said Comstock.
Delaware Avenue homeowner Sandra Mulligan said residents on that street have been parking on the sides of the road for some time without complaint. Some, she said, have even paved the small section of grass, but the parking became an issue when some residents went to far and began parking cars almost to the front door of their homes.
Not enough room: "This is an older neighborhood and most of these lots are small. You can only put a single car garage on most of them, but families here are bigger now and need more cars and somewhere to put them," she said.
According to Mulligan, many residents in the Massachusetts and Delaware avenues area are upset because the streets have not been widened. She said the roads have been paved within the last two years and should have been widened at that time. Beatrice said it is unlikely that any of the streets with less than 20 feet of width will be widened in the near future.
Mulligan said allowing parking and some paving to the side of the road in front of each home would solve any concerns of residents in the area and those concerns of village officials as well, but there must be rules to ensure the yards and front parking spaces are presentable.