Leader Blues

Friday, January 08, 2010

TOP STORY >> City council clarifies parking regulations

Leader staff writer

After four months of debate. which included two boisterous public hearings, the Jacksonville council in November approved a nuisance abatement ordinance to help clean up the city.

During the debates, the ordinance was cut in about half and numerous changes were made. But it was soon discovered it needed more tweaking, so the ordinance was amended at the council meeting Thursday night.

The council revamped the street parking aspect of the ordinance to help better define who was in violation. “The ordinance was not meant to cause problems for the visitors who park on the street,” explained Mayor Gary Fletcher. “The amendment will differentiate between visitor parking and residents that use the street as a permanent or regular parking space.”

The city doesn’t want residents parking on the street as it creates a safety hazard, but many people cited after the ordinance first came out were just visitors.

The approved amendment says “no person shall abandon or leave any motor vehicle, attended or unattended, upon any public property or public right of way or within three feet thereof.” Simply put, vehicles can’t park on the street, sidewalk or up against the street.

The amendment allows for an exception “where a person utilizes the street or public right of way immediately adjacent to his or her residence or that of another for the purposes of visiting/entering said residence for a temporary purpose.”

However, the vehicle still can’t block or impede the flow of traffic. Anyone parking in the street, visitor or not, on a regular basis will be cited.

They may have their vehicles towed or impounded if they are not willing to move them from public streets or rights of way after being asked by code- enforcement or law-enforcement officers.

In other council business:

The council voted to accept a bid of $145,500 to build the Farmer’s Market Pavilion south of the community center. The bid by Samco Construction of Cabot was not the lowest bidder, but actually the third lowest.

The council opted not to go with the $127,490 bid by Tru-Star Properties because the company left off $22,000 worth of materials needed to complete the job. The company offered to still honor their bid price, but it was felt that it was not fair to ask a contactor to work without breaking even.

The second-lowest bidder was Key Construction of Magnolia at $142,000, but the firm’s completion time was 180 days longer than the requirements. The company said it could do it in shorter time, but modifying the bid could lead to legal challenges.

In his monthly report, City Engineer Jay Whisker told the council that the engineering department issued 13 building permits and six business licenses during December. The department also performed 192 inspections and wrote 120 warning letters to residents or business owners for yard or structural concerns.

Public Works Director Jim Oakley, in his monthly report, said the animal shelter received 114 dogs and 39 cats during December. Shelter officials were able to adopt 54 dogs and 22 cats, return 29 dogs and one cat to owners and had to euthanize 24 dogs and 33 cats.

Two bite cases were reported during December. A cat bit a shelter worker during an escape attempt and had to be euthanized.

And a shepherd mix bit a lady cutting through the dog’s yard . The dog is in quarantine.

The council appointed Leroy Akridge and Joe Cummings to the Board of Adjustment, Eric McCleary to the Planning Commission and Mike Traylor to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Alderman Bill Howard and Chad Young were reappointed to the Planning Commission.