Kouts suspends action on new parking ordinance

2013-09-16T21:00:00Z 2013-09-16T21:01:04Z Kouts suspends action on new parking ordinanceBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
September 16, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

KOUTS | An ordinance that spent about five months on the drawing board before it finally was approved in August by the council is back on the drawing board again.

About 20 residents came to Monday's council meeting to protest the new requirement that all motorized vehicles in a residential area be parked on a hard surface, either pavement, concrete or gravel, and all nonmotorized vehicles be parked behind the front building line of the home.

Most said they were unaware of the months of discussion about the ordinance, but word quickly spread after several people were issued warnings from police that they needed to comply with the parking restrictions after it passed.

Several said the ordinance is too vague and they wondered why it restricts driveways to a maximum of 24 feet wide. Council President Tim Jones said, although it had taken months to finally come up with a wording the council could agree on, "I'd like to scrap it and start again."

Several in the audience "seconded" that motion. Council members said the ordinance was drafted because of complaints about a handful of properties parking several vehicles in their front yard, detracting from the overall appeal of the neighborhood, especially for those trying to sell their homes.

One resident said the ordinance doesn't cover what the complaints dealt with, and asked what is there to prevent someone from complaining about him parking his boat next to his house, as required by the ordinance. Others said parking recreational vehicles next to their home would ruin lawns and cause further degradation of the area.

Chad Morris said, "I've never lived anywhere with more trash in the front of people's houses, and you're worried about where people park?"

After hearing the complaints, the council voted to suspend enforcement. Town Attorney Bob Schwerd said he's written similar ordinances for several communities and added, "You try to write it for the complaints about a few."

Schwerd and the council asked the residents for their ideas on how to write a better ordinance. The suggestions can be submitted in writing to Town Hall or residents can come to a special study session planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Town Hall to discuss the ordinance.

And everyone can bring their own drawing board.

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