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Council looks at enforcing parking rules in city before tragic event

Do large vehicles parked too close to intersections impede traffic and create dangerous scenarios for drivers and pedestrians in Powell?

The Powell City Council wants to find out, it announced Monday night. If warranted, the city may start to enforce a city ordinance prohibiting parking at the end of streets near intersections.

“At least we should try to enforce the 40-foot rule,” said Mayor Don Hillman.

That rule is rarely if ever enforced now, the council was told. Under city code, a vehicle may not be parked 40 feet from intersecting sidewalks or sidewalks, said City Attorney Sandra Kitchen.

Ward 1 Councilmen Eric Paul and Jim Hillberry said there is a problem in their part of town that may lead to tragedy.

They said a vehicle parked at the intersection of North Day and Sunlight violates the city ordinance and impede the view of drivers.

“I don’t want to infringe on people’s right to own RVs or trailers or boats,” Paul said.

But he said he wanted to “start a conversation” on the issue before something tragic happened because a driver’s view was blocked. Paul said he has had two close calls with children darting out from behind large vehicles.

“On a completely selfish note, I don’t want to run over a child,” he said. “It’s come close.”

While Paul said he was aware it was “a touchy subject,” he said people want to ensure the streets were safe.

“I think there’s a fair amount of public support out there,” Paul said.

Hillberry said the council needed to act soon.

“ ’Cause sometime we’re going to have a real problem,” he said.

Ward 3 Councilman Myron Heny said he wants RVs and other large vehicles moved if they are left on the street year-round. But Heny said as long as there is no obstruction of view, he favors letting people park their vehicles on the street, and so do the majority of residents.

He said when he mentioned it to his barber while getting a haircut recently, the discussion was so lively he wondered if he might get his throat cut. That drew laughter from the other city officials and the small audience, but the issue remained a serious topic, as the council discussed why the ordinance was not being enforced.

Streets Superintendent Gary Butts said he could have crews paint the curb 40 feet back from the sidewalk or street, and Assistant City Attorney Scott Kath suggested making a mark at the 40-foot point to reduce the time and expense of designating the no-parking area.

Other options are for people to park large vehicles away from residential areas. Perhaps someone could start a business catering to RV parking, the council mused.

Heny said people could park on the west side of the Powell Valley Recycling Center for a “nominal fee.”

The council also discussed enforcing the ordinance only in high-traffic corridors, or focusing on RVs and other high-profile vehicles. Kitchen said the council could repeal the ordinance, or modify it, perhaps shortening the distance.

“I don’t think you can have leeway,” Hillman said. “If it’s 40 feet, it’s 40 feet.”

The council decided the city needs to address the issue, since some residents have told city staff and officials that they are reluctant to ask a neighbor to move a vehicle. That could lead to fights and hard feelings.

The mayor directed Butts to investigate the issue and report back to the council.

In other agenda items:

• The council agreed to attend a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, to discuss possible changes to zoning districts in light of development in the community.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman John Sides said the commission wants to see if the council supports the concept before moving too far on that proposal. The recent debate over a proposed sign ordinance made the need for that clear, he said.

“We know we’re all going to catch some grief over this,” Sides said. “This is a big change for the city of Powell.”

Currently, the city has eight zoning districts: three residential, including a general, another with some restrictions, and a third that is very restrictive; a general business district; a limited industrial district; a general industrial district; a sexually oriented business district; and an agriculture cultivation district.

The proposal calls for modifications to the proposed districts and the possible creation of one or more new districts. To read the current codes and terms, go to http://cityofpowell.com/assets/pdf/citycode/citycode_title17.pdf

• The council gave second reading to the 2013-14 city budget.

The $17.5 million budget includes a $6.5 million general fund. Final approval is set for the June 17 meeting.

The council added $3,000 to the budget that may go to the community health center. The money will be awarded if matching state dollars are found, according to City Administrator Zane Logan.

• A rate increase for city power received its second reading. The base meter fee will increase from $18 a month to $24 for residential users.

• Bailey Enterprises of Riverton was awarded a bid to supply fuel for city vehicles. It will sell the fuel at a slightly reduced cost from last year, the council was told.

Bailey was the sole bidder for the contract.

World Fuel Services, a Florida firm, was awarded the aviation fuel contract. It submitted a lower bid than a competitor.

• Hillman was appointed a voting delegate for the Wyoming Association of Municipalities Convention in Riverton June 12-15. Heny was named as an alternate.

• Hillberry saluted the Powell Recreation District for the fishing day for kids, held on Saturday.

“It was outstanding,” he said. “Those kids caught fish, and they had a ball.”

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2 comments

  • posted by Poster

    August 29, 2013 7:49 pm

    How about the owners of the buildings on bent street worry about that?

  • posted by clipstein

    June 06, 2013 9:52 am

    how about the owners of business's and employee's parking in front of and on bent st.?????? does this help and or improve the image of powell?

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