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Parking enforcement discussed at Williamsport council meeting

April 09, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

andreabh@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - About a half-dozen Williamsport residents and business owners on Monday night spoke against the town's strict enforcement of the two-hour limit on parking meters.

Residents and business owners were informed in the town's monthly newsletter that meter restrictions outlined in Williamsport's ordinance would be more aggressively enforced starting April 1, Town Clerk Donna K. Spickler said.

The ordinance states that single vehicles can park at meters no longer than two hours. The law is designed to promote vehicle turnover, keeping parking spaces available in front of downtown businesses, Town Attorney Edward Kuczynski said.

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Nelson Deal, who owns N & W Train Shed on Conococheague Street, said he's lost business because customers couldn't find a place to park in front of his store.

But one parking law might not be able to meet the needs of the entire community, Deal said.

Residents have different needs than business owners, he said, and some businesses benefit from short-term parking while others provide services that require longer parking limits.

Most of the residents and business owners who spoke at Monday's Williamsport Town Council meeting said they were not opposed to feeding the meters in front of their homes and businesses every two hours, but did not want to move their vehicles - or ask their customers to move - at the end of the two-hour limit.

"It's ridiculous," said Paula McGill, owner of Hello Gorgeous beauty salon on Conococheague Street. "What am I supposed to tell the little old ladies who are getting a three-hour hair service?"

Janice Rothstein of J & J Check Cashing Inc. on Conococheague Street said she didn't feel safe parking far from her store.

"We're not parking in the alleys and walking the streets with our money," Rothstein said.

It isn't reasonable to expect business owners to leave their stores to move their vehicles, said Debra Leech, owner of Put a Lid on It gift shop at 5 E. Salisbury St.

"What am I supposed to say to the customers in the store - 'Watch my register because I need to move my car,'" Leech said.

Resident Patty Everitt of Conococheague Street said the law hurts Williamsport citizens when the real problem is out-of-town drivers who park in Williamsport and fail to pay their parking tickets.

The town's streets committee is "putting the finishing touches" on a program to start booting the vehicles of people who repeatedly fail to pay tickets, Councilman Tim Ammons said.

Deal and James Jewell, owner of Jewells & Jewells on Conococheague Street, said town officials should get input from residents and business owners before strictly enforcing an ordinance that might need to be changed.

"We need a committee," Jewell said. "It's a two-way street and the Williamsport people's getting the shaft."

Town officials listened to the concerns but made no decisions Monday night.

The town's street committee will host a public meeting to discuss the parking meter issue at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at Town Hall, Spickler said following the meeting.

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