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Possible parking changes discussed

By KEVIN GREEN - kgreen@thecouriertimes.com

SPICELAND — Town council members are considering a change to a couple local ordinances that will impact parking on a few public streets as well as sanitation requirements.

At the town council’s most recent meeting, council president Darrin Jacobs brought up the idea of eliminating parking on one side of Main, Pearl and Broad streets where large fire trucks, school buses and snow plows have a hard time getting through and making turns because of vehicles parked along both sides of the streets.

He suggested eliminating parking on the north side of Main Street with the exception of the town’s “business district,” which includes town hall, the public library and a barber shop. Jacobs noted this stretch of street is wider than the rest of Main and parking along both sides of it creates less of a traffic concern than is the case elsewhere.

He also suggested eliminating parking on the north side of Broad Street and on the west side of Pearl Street, which already is partially limited to parking on one side.

Jacobs also suggested amending the existing parking ordinance to make it illegal to place a trash Dumpster, cargo container or similar object on a public street, sidewalk or right of way.

The prohibition might also include campers and trailers, though Jacobs suggested the council consider allowing pull-behind type trailers or campers be allowed to park on town streets for up to 24 hours to give town residents an opportunity to load or unload them as needed.

“I’m not talking about a guy like a contractor who pulls up and parks and his truck’s hooked up to a trailer all day and he uses it and then drives off,” he said. “I’m talking about people who drop things off for weeks at a time.”

Council members appeared to be in agreement town residents should place Dumpsters, campers and other large objects that can impede traffic and damage street surfaces on their own property, rather than on the streets or sidewalks in front of their homes.

Another town ordinance Jacobs brought up dates back to 1938 and requires all town residents to be hooked up to a functional septic system.

“I thought we ought to make a change that involves doing away with the septic tank requirement and instead requiring people inside town limits to be hooked into the South Henry Regional Sewer District,” Jacobs said.

An ordinance already exists that states anyone living within 300 feet of a sanitary sewer line can be forced to hook up to it, as can anyone who has a failing septic system.

Jacobs suggested the council consider passing an amendment to the existing ordinance that would require all new construction to hook into a sanitary sewer line, but grandfathering any homes or businesses that currently have a septic system as long as it is functional and up to code.

“I’m not suggesting that we force anyone to hook up to South Henry except in those cases where it’s new construction or if they have a failing septic system,” he said.

Jacobs said these changes will likely inconvenience some residents, but that the changes he proposed are in the best interest of public safety and welfare.

Council members were in agreement, but no action was taken on any of these issues. They are, however, expected to be discussed again at some point in the future.