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Council revisits dispute over street parking

Staff writer

A parking disagreement between neighbors on W. 4th St. was discussed again by Peabody City Council at its regular meeting Nov. 25. The street is narrower than most in Peabody and parking on both sides of the street eliminates traffic flow and creates a hazard for people getting out of vehicles in front of either residence.

Several years ago, Janie Hampton, who lives on the north side of the street, installed a low fence made of railroad ties to keep people from pulling into her front yard to park when they visited her neighbors across the street, Brian and Tammy Whiteside. The fence was installed a few feet from the street, but still on the city’s easement. Hampton does not let guests to her home park on the street. She has space in her driveway or side yard to accommodate their vehicles.

The Whitesides, on the south side of 4th St., feel the street belongs to the whole community and if visitors want to park on the north side when visiting the Whitesides, they should be allowed to do so. They would like for Hampton to take down her fence so people can pull off the street to park on the city right of way. They feel it is a safety issue as well as an issue of convenience for their visitors.

The situation was presented to the council at the Nov. 11 meeting, but no action was taken. The council asked Police Chief Bruce Burke to investigate the matter and measure the street and the easement area and report back.

Burke reported that cars parked on each side of the street would leave only a 10 ft. space between them. His feeling was that traffic, and especially emergency vehicles could not get between them safely. By parking a car on the easement on either side of the street, traffic could get through.

He told the council he saw several options to settle the matter.

“No. 1, you could create a special assessment for everyone on that street and put in curb and guttering and a sidewalk on the easements and charge the cost of the project to all the residents receiving the upgrades,” he said. “Or, No. 2, you could make the street a no-parking zone on one or both sides of the street. Or, No. 3, you could do nothing and try to reason with the people involved and mediate the issue.”

Burke said there are several streets in town where personal property encroaches on the city’s easements.

“If you apply one of those solutions to this street, you are going to have to do the same thing in all other parts of the community,” he told the council.

Again, the council took no action, but asked Burke to visit with the parties involved and see if a resolution could be worked out.

Animal control issue

Burke and animal control officer Duane Davis presented a proposal to the council to do away with the 30-day grace period the city allows for people to tag their pets.

Annual pet tags are required for dogs and cats by the end of January and the grace period ends the last day of February. Burke and Davis told the council that the extended time period prevented Davis from starting his job in a timely fashion after the first of the year.

They thought the initial 30-day purchasing schedule should be sufficient for pet owners, especially since the tags arrive at the city office in December and go on sale immediately. No action was taken by the council.

In other business:

  • Jan O’Neil was hired to fill the position of municipal court reporter. O’Neil held the position prior to Leah Ottensmeier.
  • The council was informed that Knudsen, Monroe, and Company will conduct the city’s audit for 2013 on Jan. 27.
  • Council member Tom Schmidt and Mayor Larry Larsen reported they had received several calls from residents indicating reluctance to allow a house to be moved up Walnut St. if it meant cutting down trees to accommodate the structure. Randy Dallke brought the issue to the council on Nov. 11 to see what his options might be if he decided to try and move a house from W. 1st St. to acreage he owns north of town. The council took no action.
  • Burke reported that he attended a meeting in Marion about grant funding for damage resulting from the heavy rains and flooding during the summer. Burke requested that Manning, Larsen, and Shane Marler join him to work on the application for funds. The council encouraged the formation of such a group.

The next meeting of the Peabody City Council will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the Peabody City Building.

Last modified Dec. 4, 2013

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