BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The controversial Clarkston parking deferment ordinance may soon be history, after City Council approved a motion showing intent to repeal it.
The vote was unanimous to approve the motion, but Council members found it questionable. As written, the ordinance required businesses in the downtown district to provide parking or pay into a fund. Mayor Eric Haven asked if the city could be sued for reimbursement by those who paid into it in the past.
City attorney Thomas Ryan said it has been decades since anything has been collected for it.
“At some point it becomes moot; not ripe for adjudication,” Ryan said. “I agree, we have to do something with it. It’s been on the books lo these many years and hasn’t been enforced.”
If it were to remain and be enforced now, council would need to place on the record reasons why, he said.
“Some kind of case would have to be made for it,” he said.
Council member Al Avery asked why the issue has come up now.
“All of a sudden, it seems to be an issue,” Avery said. “We could leave it as is and it’s there if we need it. If we take it away, it’s not coming back.”
Parking deferment elimination was suggested by the city attorney, city consultant Carlisle Wortman, and the city Parking Committee, said Rich Little, Planning Commission chair.
“We’ve been talking about this for a number of years – the Parking Committee finally acted on it,” said Council member Joe Luginski.
The Planning Commission voted on Dec. 2 to forward the Parking Committee’s final two recommendations to City Council.
The committee’s second recommendation was to seek bids to widen Buffalo Street between Church and Waldon, allowing parking on one side of Buffalo while increasing safety. The estimate from the city engineer was $25,476. City Council voted 5-1, Dec. 9, to approve the Planning Commission’s recommendation to seek bids to widen Buffalo Road. Council member Al Avery voted “no.” The Parking Management Committee was formed by the Planning Commission this past January. In July, the committee offered seven parking recommendations and City Council approved one, additional handicapped parking space.
The council asked the committee to evaluate resident-only permit parking for all east city streets, and three-hour posted parking for all on-street parking in the city. The committee discussed the issues but did not pursue them, Little said.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO