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Council Hears Parking Concerns

By Staff | Feb 28, 2013

The question of parking on the street came before Emmetsburg City Council Monday night. The street in question bans parking on the street 24 hours a day.

Judy Cole, 2605 6th Street, submitted a letter to the City Council requesting an exemption to park in the street in front of her house. “No parking” is from Nov. 1 through April 1.

In her letter, Cole stated that the gravel driveway is soft during the winter and spring months, due to thawing. She also stated that they have three vehicles at their house and when they have visitors there is not adequate space for parking in the driveway.

“Can we grant an exemption?” asked Councilman Steve Finer. “I didn’t believe we could.”

City Administrator John Bird replied, “I don’t think the ordinance, as it is written, gives you that luxury. I think you might have to tweak the ordinance.”

“Is it the streets around the school?” asked Councilman Brian Malm.

Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson answered, “It’s just the 2600 block of 6th Street, the north side of West Elementary.”

Hanson gave background for the decision to ban parking on the street in that block. “Through the Street Department’s work, we were having trouble in that area. That’s where all the teachers wanted to park and it was extremely difficult during the winter with snow removal.”

Hanson said he worked with school administrators and, ultimately, the decision was made to ban parking on the 2600 block from Nov. 1 through April 1.

“We make exceptions as best we can,” said Hanson. “We try to have some flexibility. With overnight parking, we stop writing tickets through the holidays when we see an influx of visitors. In the case of Coles, because of the area where they’re at, I’d work with them if they have a problem with their driveway. Because they are in a 24-hour area with no parking from Nov. 1 through April 1, I would work with them.”

Hanson suggested blocking off the driveway to allow it to dry out and allowing the Coles to park vehicles on the street during that time.

“We would want to put something up (cones or barricade) that shows that they can’t go up on the driveway, because the faculty at the school would be wondering why their cars are out there. We would want to make that apparent We would work with that and, obviously, they would be reminded to be very mindful of snow removal.”

“I think you could talk to her and tell her you would be willing to work with her,” said Bird.

“I would have liked to have had that opportunity before it got to this level,” answered Hanson.

Public Works Director Bill Dickey added, “We try to keep it clear of snow and ice. That was part of the idea of keeping it clear of vehicles. We want to be able to make it safe for the children.”

Mayor Heddinger asked Hanson to visit with the Coles. “I think that’s as much as we can do at this point.”