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Public outrage leads Cottonwood Shores to table on-street parking decision

Cottonwood Shores street parking

LEGALLY PARKED (left): The vehicle pictured here would be legal under a proposed parking ordinance in Cottonwood Shores as its sideview mirrors are away from the street and the vehicle is 2 feet from the asphalt line. ILLEGALLY PARKED (right): Under a proposed Cottonwood Shores city parking ordinance, this vehicle would be in violation as it is not 2 feet off of the asphalt line and its sideview mirrors are in the street. Staff photos by Nathan Bush

A proposal to fine parking violators $50 for first offenses and $100 for second offenses drew vocal public opposition at a regular meeting of the Cottonwood Shores City Council on Thursday, June 16. After a lengthy and often angry discussion, the council decided to table the idea for now. 

The proposal was the result of a brainstorming meeting between Police Chief Johnny Liendo and councilors Michael Ritchie and Roger Wayson. The trio looked to find a compromise with residents after previous meetings also stalled on the matter.

“It was a group effort,” Wayson said. “We started off with two extremes.”

On one end of the spectrum was a proposal to restrict parking to 10 feet from the edge of a paved surface, leaving plenty of room for cars to pass safely by on the roadway. 

“We thought that was way too extreme,” Wayson continued. “Our other option was to let people park on the street. After considering liability laws and safety, we felt that wasn’t a good direction either.”

The trio came to the conclusion that a fair compromise would be to allow parking 2 feet off of any paved surface with hefty fines for violations. 

“We don’t want citations,” Liendo said. “What we want is compliance.”

Several residents speaking out at the meeting strongly disagreed with the council’s compromise, arguing that many people don’t have space to park their cars anywhere but the street. The real safety concerns are construction vehicles, work trucks, and out-of-town visitors staying in short-term rentals who are parking along the streets and blocking traffic, they said.

The state of the roads is also too inconsistent, they continued. Many residents have ditches in front of their homes that were dug by the city, making it impossible for them to comply with the ordinance.

“I’ve owned property in Cottonwood Shores since 1970,” resident Cindy Latronica said. “Those ditches are infamous. If the city wants us to comply, they should get a contractor to come out and fill the ditches and the roads. I know (the city) can do it because (the city) has come a long way.”

Mayor Donald Orr pushed back on the matter, saying Cottonwood Shores simply doesn’t have the means to fix and widen every road. Later on in the meeting, Orr took it a step further.

“We have roughly 18 to 20 miles of road in this town,” Orr said. “That would cost $10 million. If any of you receive $10 million, donate it to the city. We’ll gladly take it, and we can fix your roads.”

After over an hour of discussion, the council tabled the on-street parking issue with a 5-0 vote.

“When we set out to do this, we were trying to make the city safer,” Wayson said. “That was our goal. We were trying to represent everybody, and it doesn’t seem like we hit the right chord.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The council, voted 5-0 to:

  • purchase a new web program for residents to view water bills online;
  • purchase a new water line to run through Knight’s Row into Prince’s Peak
  • and appoint Michael Ritchie to serve as volunteer fire department liaison and Cheri Trinidad to serve as alternate liaison.

The next meeting of the Cottonwood Shores City Council will be a special meeting and workshop on the budget and property tax rates for the 2022-23 fiscal year. It is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at 4111 Cottonwood Drive.

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Public outrage leads Cottonwood Shores to table on-street parking decision

  1. How bout dis? Park on your own property or be towed. I’ve never understood why anyone would assume they could park in the street or why anyone would want to.

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