By Mike Pidanick
Terrace parking is a hot topic in North Tonawanda as winter parking bans go into effect. Residents of homes with multiple vehicles are looking for answers - and officials are, as well.
The North Tonawanda Common Council held a special meeting Nov. 22 to discuss the issue. No solutions were reached, but there was a unanimous agreement that something needs to be done.
"We need to see if we can come up with something that would be the best solution for the greatest number of people," City of North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur G. Pappas said. "We have to get to the point that whatever decision is made by the council has got to be consistent as best we can. We may not reach perfection, but we can reach excellence."
Recent council meetings have featured a number of community members - including many affected residents - using the public portion of the meeting to discuss the issue. At the Nov. 22 meeting, held after the regularly scheduled work session at City Hall, just 10 residents were in attendance.
"Quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed in the turnout," Pappas said. "Because of the complaints that have come in and the calls that we have gotten, I thought there'd be more people here."
But those in attendance did have their say.
Among those to speak was Weaver Parkway resident Michael Meritt, who owns a rental property that could be impacted. Although his property currently has just one family, it is built for three, which can lead to driveway issues.
"A lot of properties, including my income property, are rental properties," Meritt said. "Some of them were built before there were cars. Houses were built in some cases before there were cars and certainly before there were more than one car per families. Nowadays we have multiple-income families; they all have to drive."
Residents can request a $20 hardship permit from the city and park on the terrace area during the winter. However, the owner - not the tenant - must request the permit, and that's a problem with some landlords out of town and proven to be difficult to contact.
Alternate parking, colored permit stickers and new pavement were among the ideas discussed at the meeting.
Everyone in attendance agreed something needs to be done to address the issue and create some consistency.
"We need direction as the traffic and safety advisory committee," said traffic supervisor Mark Daigler. "We're scrambling because we don't have any guidance. There's all kinds of things coming about and there are really no concrete answers. We need to come up with some kind of master plan."
The traffic and safety advisory committee held a recent 45-minute meeting to discuss the issue and "we got absolutely nowhere," Daigler said.
The issue will likely be discussed again at the next Common Council meeting, slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.