Commission may want to rethink this one
Mike McCormick, Shawnee News-Star
THE ISSUE The proposed yard parking ordinance
OUR OPINION It's impractical, if not impossible, to enforce
Shawnee city commissioners have struck a nerve with local citizens over their proposed yard parking ordinance. Most of those we've heard from aren't happy with the proposal, and they are making their opposition known.
Commissioners, who are planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal, probably during their January meeting, may want to rethink this idea. One of our immediate concerns is how practical is it for city staff to be able to enforce such an ordinance, and if they even tried to enforce it, how does it impact more important business city employees should be dealing with on a daily basis.
It would seem to be a logistical nightmare for the city to enforce.
It's difficult now for the city just to try and enforce the ordinances regarding tall grass and weeds, dilapidated structures, old cars which have sat idle and the grass has grown up around.
In checking with the city, this proposal is being driven by the commissioners. That is, they are the ones who requested staff to look into it and have an ordinance of this nature drawn up.
We laud the commissioners for their attempts to further cut down on vehicles where they shouldn't be parked. However, the focus should be more on those vehicles parked in yards and driveways that are inoperable and have been there for whatever period of time is deemed unacceptable in the ordinance.
The city's efforts should be aimed at targeting those situations because those are the ones that are unattractive. We don't understand why it hurts for residents to park their vehicles on acceptable surfaces, even grass, either for several hours, overnight, throughout the day even, as long as they are not there longer than a reasonable period.
City commissioners need to pick what their priorities for this community are and if conflicts arise, and the issue is really important, pursue it vigorously. But they need to choose their battles carefully.
In the not too distant future, we anticipate the city commission will ask for additional revenue to fund capital improvements in our community. Stirring up citizens, many of whom are voters, on issues like this proposed parking ordinance isn't a priority in our minds.
As the proposal is drafted now, it's much too restrictive. We think most citizens will agree with us. Maybe a less restrictive ordinance could be offered.
City police and those personnel in code enforcement have more important duties other than going around ticketing vehicles parked in yards for only a day, part of a day and night, even overnight.
We suggest commissioners either start all over or leave this alone for now. Otherwise, they are picking a battle on an issue that has relatively little importance to the progress of our community.
Posted on Tue, February 22, 2011