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Tue, Nov

Jerome delays parking vote

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Solving the parking problem in Jerome will have to wait.

Jerome Town Council delayed a decision on ordinance No. 432, which would implement a parking permit requirement on selected streets in town.

The ordinance will be addressed again at council’s October meeting. Until then, many of the issues brought up during the call to the public will be examined and, if possible, implemented into the wording of the law.

The ordinance — in the form at the meeting on Aug. 8 — would zone areas in town where street parking is an issue, then sell permits to residents for vehicles so they can park on the street. There would be a limit to how many permits are allowed per household.

The fee would be annual and levied by Town Council. It was decided at a previous meeting that the price should not be included in the law, so that council could change it.

Members of the public took issue with much of the ordinance and brought up several areas where it left more questions than answers.

State Route 89A was seen to be unnecessary in the list of targeted roads, as residents from the area professed that there wasn’t a problem. Council expressed agreement with this and the road will likely not appear in future versions.

Residents also expressed concern that obtaining a permit — especially proposed guest permits — could be difficult without a dedicated person handing them out. An online option was discussed to handle this. Having a police officer give them out was seen as a poor use of law enforcement time.

Further, townspeople said that enforcement of the code is not worth the officers’ effort. Mayor Frank Vander Horst said that enforcement would be complaintdriven and not involve patrolling for violations.

Councilman Lew Courrier also suggested that residents think about what time parking becomes an issue, as it could affect how the ordinance will be enforced.

Clarity was also sought. The terms “household” and “residence” needed definition due to multi-family units occupying what were once singlefamily homes. There was also a question of whether permits would be required on sections of road the town does not maintain. And in terms of enforcement, if a violator is not towed, where will the resident park?

The system that would track permits was also seen as invasive, as it would collect a database of registration and plate details for vehicles.

There was also the problem of visiting a neighbor who lived in a different zone.

The math in some areas was shown to not work out under a two-permit maximum system, as there aren’t enough spaces to do so in certain proposed zones. A need for overflow parking was brought up to deal with situations where no spot was available for permitted drivers.

Councilman Jay Kinsella said that communication in the small town needs to play a large role in solving the problem. A lot can be accomplished by talking to a neighbor, he said, and lamented how certain areas had lost this ability.

During the motion to delay the vote, council was vocal about not letting the proposal go by the wayside, noting how that happened in 2008, leaving them in the position the town is in now.


Fire Chief Rusty Blair chimed in as well, noting that doing nothing would continue to hinder emergency response efforts. He described how some areas are barely large enough to fit a car through.

“Now, tell me how I’m going to squeeze my fire truck through those same areas,” he said.

Councilwoman Alex Barber said that there was no easy fix due to the fact that Jerome was initially designed before cars were commonplace. As a result, some houses do not have driveways to pull into. She said the town was not an area for one family to have more cars than needed.

Kinsella also noted that some cars were on the road without current tags, one dating to 2009. A member of the public suggested that these cars be dealt with before moving forward with the ordinance. The vehicles in question are going through the complaint process now.

Councilman Hunter Bachrach said that the council is doing what it can to protect residents, and to “bear with us” as council addresses the details brought up.

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