'The people have spoken': Mount Carmel approves no parking on residential streets

Jeff Bobo • Mar 3, 2019 at 10:00 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — The voice of the people was heard loud and clear by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which voted Thursday to ban parking on residential streets.

The only exception, based on Alderman Steven McLain’s motion, which was approved, is when snow and/or ice makes it impossible for a homeowner to pull into their driveway.

In those cases, parking would be allowed on one side of the street.

The BMA voted unanimously in favor of the citywide parking ban on both sides of residential streets in Mount Carmel, but enforcement won’t begin for at least a month.

During that time City Attorney John Pevy and Police Chief Grady White will determine if additional signs should be posted throughout subdivisions or if the existing signs need to be rewritten to include the snow and ice exception.

Pevy is also expected to make a recommendation to the BMA at its March meeting on the amount of the parking fine.

Public hearing comments

Michelle Epperson, who resides in Hammond Estates, told the BMA during Thursday’s public hearing that street parking is a public safety issue.

She showed the BMA photos of a trailer she said is parked in front of her house more than on the owner’s property.

“It has been an ongoing problem for many, many years,” Epperson said. “It’s not a trailer that’s used for work. It’s a trailer that’s used for recreational activities. The owner has been told multiple times that he cannot park there, but he does it anyway.

“What scares me is if there are children riding bicycles, and someone is coming to go around that (trailer) and doesn’t see them, the child could be hurt. It’s not right. I believe you have a garage for a reason. You have driveways for a reason. What about emergency personnel? What if someone’s house catches on fire? What if rescue needs to come through?”

Alderman Pat Stilwell read a letter from a resident of the Ponderosa subdivision who was unable to attend the meeting due to a health issue.

The author, whose name wasn’t given by Stilwell, complained of cars parking on both sides of the street in Ponderosa, and stated it’s a safety hazard for children as well as walkers.

The writer said that the offenders have driveways that aren’t being used, and the 20 mph speed limit is “rarely obeyed.”

“The people have spoken”

Following the public hearing, Alderman Carl Wolfe said, “I feel like the people have spoken.

“I’ve been over on Hammond (Estates) several times, and I do feel like it’s a problem over in there,” Wolfe said. “Like the lady said, people have driveways. Except in emergencies — if there’s a death or something I can understand. Park on the street. But when you park your recreation vehicle, you should park it in your yard or your driveway.”

No tickets for at least a month

Several subdivisions have signs at their entrance stating “No parking either side of street.”

But many of those subdivisions contain several blocks and multiple roads, White stated he can’t enforce “no parking” unless signs are on every street.

A different concern expressed by Assistant Police Chief Ken Lunsford Jr. was the fine, which he said amounts to $130 after court costs.

The BMA asked City Attorney John Pevy and White to determine the potential necessity for the signs to be rewritten, and/or posting additional signs in subdivisions, then return to the BMA with a recommendation at its March 25 meeting.

Pevy will also make a recommendation on that date about the final cost of the parking ticket fine, including fees.

He also suggested a one month warning period to make sure the public is aware this change is taking place.

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