Friday, October 30, 2009

Hailey eyes tough parking rules

Proposed ordinance addresses obstacles to snow plowing

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council is considering amending the city's parking ordinance to make sure vehicles stay out of the way of snowplows this winter. The ordinance would also keep portions of the city streets from being used as "for sale" lots for used automobiles.

What many Hailey residents don't know is that they have been parking illegally every day on city-owned rights of way bordering their properties, especially in old Hailey.

"This ordinance would be more lenient," Police Chief Jeff Gunter said. "It will be more understandable and more enforceable."

In some parts of the city, rights of way extend 50 feet from the center of the street into lawns and under trees bordering private property. In the absence of sidewalks, residents long used these areas for parking.

"There is a lot of space there," said Gunter, who says the city has trouble when the vehicles are parked too close to the paths of snowplows in winter.

The new ordinance would officially allow parking on the right of way as long as the vehicle is parked at least 6 feet from the edge of the asphalt, in order to keep vehicles clear from snowplow blades and other snow removal equipment.

In addition to being towed, vehicles parked too close to the road's edge could be ticketed with a $50 fine under the new ordinance.

"There aren't enough tow truck drivers to go around, so this gives us another option if someone is parked illegally and a snowplow has to go around them," Gunter said.

Gunter said the city tows six to eight cars each time a snowstorm hits the city, and several more abandoned vehicles throughout the winter.

Further provisions in the proposed ordinance are intended to keep would be used car sellers from using the northernmost tip of Broadford Road at the intersection of Main Street as a lot. The ordinance would limit parking at this area to two hours or less.

"We've had many complaints from people saying it looks like a used car lot," Gunter said.

The City Council will discuss the matter further at its next regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 9.

Tony Evans:

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