Township limits street parking, leases spots to paying residents
Parking on Race Street has been limited to the left side only. This change happened in conjunction with a new ordinance permitting the township to charge residents and business owners to reserve parking spots in nearby municipal-owned lots.
By Chadwick Dolgos
Stowe officials have approved a new ordinance permitting the township to charge residents to reserve spots on several newly-paved parking lots.
The measures came in response to increasing parking congestion that makes it difficult for motorists to navigate the narrow thoroughfares of Race Street and Russellwood and Woodward avenues, where the lots are located.
According to an official statement mailed out to residents and business owners, each household and business in the township will have the opportunity to lease up to two personal parking spots in any of the three lots.
Parking on the right side of Race Street will now be prohibited and strictly enforced beginning July 19. Any vehicles parked on the right side of the street will be tagged and towed after this date.
Reserved parking spots can be purchased at the municipal building at an annual cost of $125. Spots are limited and are on a first come, first served basis.
"I think that’s reasonable,” said Robin Parilla, Stowe commissioner’s president. “The township could have put meters in there and charged a dollar an hour.”
Residents voicing their concerns about the new parking policies during the board’s agenda meeting on July 12 were less concerned with the price per spot than they were with the new challenges they’ll face once the ordinance is enacted.
“If those spaces are all filled, and there’s nowhere to park, where are people supposed to park?” resident Sue Herman asked the commissioners.
Herman, who lives on Race Street, is also concerned with where family members are going to park when they’re in town visiting, and where contractors are going to park when they are working on her home.
“There are a lot of variables here, and we have no answers for them,” said Nick Martini, secretary of the board. “You’re asking a lot of hypotheticals, which is fine, but nobody has answers for these.”
Resident Elaine Schroeder, who also lives on Race Street, found the statement by the board of commissioners too vague and wanted to know when it was going to be made visibly clear on the street that there is no parking on the right side.
“You’ll probably see something this week,” Parilla said. “You’ll see some painting.”
There are 61 parking spots in total that residents and business owners can reserve: 13 on Race, 14 on Woodward and 34 on Russellwood. According to Parilla, any spots that are not specifically reserved for the year are considered free parking.
“We have 34 spots on Russellwood,” he said. “If we only lease three out, you got 31 free spots.”
In addition to the three parking lots, commissioners have their eyes on another property on Race Street that could potentially be paved into a parking lot in the near future.
“There’s a unit on the corner of Race Street that’s condemned,” Parilla said. “When that’s torn down, that might be a parking lot, also.”
Parrilla explained that something had to be done on Race Street to ensure the safety of the residents in the case of a fire or any other emergency.
“The road needs to be shut down on one side because of safety,” he said. “The fire trucks cannot go down there.”
The board considered other options, including widening the street, before deciding this was the route that is best for the town.
“After we looked a little bit, and with moving water lines and gas lines, it wasn’t feasible,” Parilla said.
The board unanimously passed the paid parking spot ordinance July 13. Commissioners absent from the vote were Darrell Chestnut, Cheryl McDermott and Dave Rugh.