LIMA — Downtown parking is going to change.
But how and more importantly, when, remains a little bit murky as Lima City Council works through some of the bureaucratic necessities required to nix parking enforcement on Saturdays.
Downtown Lima, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to improving the downtown business environment, has already begun discussions on the topic of downtown parking enforcement two months ago, and its board has commissioned a parking study to discuss the best policies that could be applied to downtown parking. But for councilor Derry Glenn, that study — due to be finished in spring — won’t solve the problem of Saturday parking enforcement fast enough.
Under the city’s current ordinances, downtown parking rules are enforced six days a week — including Saturday — during normal business hours. Enforcement is done by a single part-time enforcement officer working 29 hours a week. Her lack of a full-time work week, however, has made enforcement inconsistent, especially during the weekends. So it came as a surprise to a number of residents when they recently found tickets on their vehicles on a Saturday.
Complaints of those tickets filtered down to councilors Glenn and Sam McLean. McLean also co-owns 318 Restaurant & Bar, a recently opened downtown whiskey bar.
Former councilor Ray Magnus, who co-owns the business with McLean, proposed a complete moratorium on Saturday parking enforcement until Downtown Lima Inc. can complete its study.
But while the change may seem simple, its application requires a little more work. Normally, these matters are considered by the city’s traffic commission, which has been given the parking regulation authority by City Council ordinance. But while the commission meets monthly, again, an extra three weeks was too slow, Glenn and McLean said, to get the matter resolved before the “holiday season.”
Councilor Carla Thompson said in the long-term, it’s probably a good thing to stop Saturday parking enforcement, but those who were pushing the change may be forcing the issue without considering repercussions.
By the end of the meeting, the Safety Services Committee passed three motions proposed by McLean. First, the committee asked the traffic commission to hold a special meeting to consider the issue before its November meeting. Second, it suggested to the Lima Police Department that parking enforcement becomes more consistent. And third, McLean motioned to hold a meeting with the city’s law department to consider the best way to change the ordinances regarding parking enforcement to stop weekend ticketing.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.