Responding to a parking problem on Orange Street where a local automotive shop is allegedly parking its U-Haul trucks on city streets, Alderman Diane Sheehan, Ward 3, previously filed the proposed ordinance that would bar businesses from parking rental box trucks along the streets for hours at a time.
"This has a big impact on the neighborhood," said Sheehan, urging her fellow board members to support the proposal on Tuesday.
According to Sheehan, several U-Haul trucks are often parked on the street and sometimes on the sidewalk from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. She said the vehicles, which are being rented by Rod's Automotive, take up valuable parking spaces, prohibit pedestrians from walking on the sidewalk, prevent snow plowing and also create a sight problem for motorists.
It is not appropriate for a city businesses to leave its inventory on public streets, Sheehan said.
Originally, the proposed fine for violating the ordinance was set at $125 for the first offense.
"I am of the mind that $125 is cruel and unusual," said Alderman Daniel Moriarty, Ward 9. He suggested that the offense carry a $50 fine, and that the fee be raised to $75 if it is not paid within seven days.
The majority of aldermen agreed with Moriarty's recommendation to lower the proposed fine, but some aldermen still had reservations about the entire ordinance.
"I am not sure this is the solution," said Alderman Richard Dowd, Ward 2, questioning how the ordinance will be enforced. Dowd said there are other ordinances already on the books that aren't being enforced that could be used to help deter this type of parking problem.
Sheehan said there is a gap in existing legislation that allows businesses to park vehicles for sale, rent or lease on city streets.
Alderman-at-Large Mark Cookson said there was limited conversation about the recommended ordinance when an aldermanic committee studied it, noting he also would not be supporting the proposal.
While this may be an isolated incident, Sheehan said earlier that this could happen elsewhere in the city, stressing the situation needs to be resolved now before the problem extends to other locations.
The Board of Aldermen ultimately adopted the new ordinance on Tuesday.