On-street parking finds its way back to City Council
KINGMAN – City Council remained unsure about how to move forward with potential zoning ordinance and City code changes regarding on-street parking of large vehicles, an issue that first appeared in August after a 4-year-old Kingman boy was killed entering a street between two parked cars.
Vice Mayor Jen Miles originally requested the matter be addressed by Council in August, but with no action taken, asked that it be placed on the June 5 agenda.
“This is a health and safety issue for our community,” Miles said. “I first brought it up last year when we had an unfortunate death of a young boy in our community due to not having visibility behind a motor home. So it’s very important I think that we take action on this and move it forward.”
City staff provided Council with an overview of an ordinance drafted two to three years ago that addresses these parking issues. Included in that ordinance is language prohibiting on-street parking, except while loading, unloading or delivering, of commercial and larger vehicles.
Mayor Monica Gates said that while no one is “minimizing the tragedy that occurred,” she couldn’t see how imposing additional restrictions for on-street parking would be feasible. Councilwoman Vickie Kress questioned where those individuals would park their vehicles, to which Miles responded at a storage facility.
Gates said parking in a back or side yard may not be possible for some because of yard size, and that storage units may not be affordable.
“I absolutely agree that you do see these recreational vehicles, boats, in front of homes,” Gates said. “This has been happening for years. We’re talking about old, established neighborhoods, I just for the life of me can’t envision where now we’re going to force our community to move their recreational vehicles, their boats, their trailers, when they have nowhere else to put them. I understand restrictions in new neighborhoods, I just don’t see where this is tenable moving forward. “
How to define those large vehicles, and how to differentiate between them, was a key concern. Carl Cooper, City attorney, explained the drafted ordinance defines vehicles by category and not by size. The ordinance identifies the vehicles as campers, trucks, and boats, rather than by the lengths of those vehicles.
Miles said she could see where residents would have questions pertaining to exceptions to the rule.
“Well I know the argument that will be made … ‘I have a little fishing boat versus I have a 26-foot RV parked in front of my house.’ They are different. I’m wondering if there could be an accommodation.”
She added that identifying those accommodations could be accomplished by a public hearing.
“If you’re going to differentiate, you need to definitely explain why you’re differentiating it,” Cooper said. “Because someone is going to come in and go ‘My boat is a boat, why is your boat different?’ Profile height and everything else is going to jump into that mix.”
Councilman David Wayt wondered if City zoning ordinances could be amended to allow for large vehicle parking in driveways as opposed to on the street. However, Ron Foggin, City manager, said aesthetic appeal isn’t the only concern with driveway parking.
“But since we’re talking about (pedestrian) safety, whether it be children or adults, is that a large RV, trailer, parked in the driveway obstructs the driver’s view from backing out of their driveway. And so I would suggest that you’re actually creating more of a safety issue by blocking the view of the drivers, of people using the sidewalk, than you are having RVs and large vehicles out on the street.”
Councilmembers thought it wise to look into what other cities have done regarding on-street parking regulations and that a public hearing should be held to gather opinions from the public.
Aspects of the draft dealing with zoning ordinances were passed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration, but a decision about on-street parking of RVs in residential areas pertains to City code and not a zoning ordinance, and as such is up to Council.