By Michael Abramowitz
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Greenville city staff gathered residents’ concerns, opinions and questions on Monday evening about proposed parking regulation changes in a section of the city north of the East Carolina University campus.
The public input meeting at City Hall was part of a process initiated by the City Council to address concerns some residents of the University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Overlay District have about parking conditions.
Two recommendations emerged in March from a six-member overlay initiative committee to limit and control parking for district residents only and establish backyard parking standards that include limiting the number of continuous vehicles on site to four on an improved surface with proper screening, Development Director Merrill Flood told the audience.
The second step in the process came on Monday when the staff — including Flood, Public Works Department Director Kevin Mulligan, City Engineer Stacey Pigford, Police Chief Hassan Aden — gathered and sorted the public’s comments, questions and concerns.
Flood displayed a map that highlighted controlled on-street parking in a portion of the college historic district, roughly located north to south between East First and Fifth streets, and east to west between Elm and Reade streets. A proposed expanded area of regulation also would include the rest of the historic district and an area between East First Street and River Drive, Flood said.
More than 50 percent of residents on streets within the highlighted area must have more than 50 percent of their neighbors’ names submitted on a petition to enact resident-only parking, which would include appropriate signage and issued permits, Mulligan said.
All on-street regulations would apply on Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mulligan said.
Opposing points of view were most clearly framed around the issue of property owner rights versus aesthetic values of the overall neighborhood that might be affected by the sight of cars in yards.
“It appears that owners can do what they want on their properties, even to the point of graveling in the whole darn yard, and in some cases on adjoining properties,” a resident said. “That’s as ugly as you can get.”
A resident followed with a comment reflecting a different point of view.
“If you don’t like the view, put up a fence,” the resident said. “What people do with their property is their business.”
Several attendees said they were concerned that the parking restrictions would hinder access to the city’s nearby greenway section in the neighborhood for city residents and make the greenway less inviting there.
Mulligan reassured local residents that the city has no wish or intention to allow that to happen.
Residents of the area between River Drive and First Street do not face the on-street parking obstacles that their neighbors in the lower section face, several of them told the staff.
One attendee suggested that the number of cars allowed to park on a yard should be determined by the available size of the property, rather than a set number of four. Flood replied that properties would have to evaluated individually with regard to those circumstances.
Neighborhoods would be monitored for persistent parking violations, but infrequent or occasional violations to accommodate visitors would not be addressed, Flood said.
Council members directed the staff to analyze Monday’s public input, combine it with recommendations from the city’s Transportation and Parking Commission and forward a proposal package to the council in time for a June vote on further action so adopted changes could take effect by the beginning of ECU’s fall semester.
Contact Michael Abramowitz at email@example.com or 252- 329-9571.
via The Daily Reflector.