Discussion on the proposed Broadway Boulevard yard parking ordinance finally made its way to the Sedalia City Council during a work session Monday, but it doesn’t seem a decision will be made any time soon.
After more than an hour of discussion, the councilmembers present decided to postpone bringing the ordinance to the next council meeting for a vote until after further discussion. It was decided to allow the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee to discuss ideas and problems council brought up during its July 24 meeting, and then council will discuss the ordinance again Aug. 4.
Councilmember Larry Stevenson was absent from the meeting, and Ward 2 was only represented by Bonita Nash after Becca La Strada’s resignation last week. Council was joined by a small audience, which included several members of the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee, and several residents voiced their opinions on the issue.
It was quickly brought up that there is an ordinance in effect prohibiting parking on grass at a residence, but those in favor of the ordinance reminded the council the ordinance is meant to be proactive rather than reactive years down the road.
“As far as clear violators there are two, however a few years ago there were zero, and that number is increasing,” said City Administrator Gary Edwards.
“I think the Clean Sedalia Committee was looking at this as a way to prevent further deterioration, visual plight of the area,” said Community Development Director John Simmons.
Councilmember Don Meier was the first at the meeting to bring up the idea of preventing the problem city-wide, which committee members and Edwards have discussed previously. Edwards said there are two main reasons that idea isn’t happening: enforcement and visibility.
“There are a couple problems with that,” Edwards said. “Enforcing that city-wide is going to be difficult. Another issue is other parts of Sedalia aren’t as visible to the people who are going through Sedalia who are making decisions about if they should set up businesses here or not, for example. Their impression will be what they see on East and West Broadway. So it’s less important for this to go city-wide as it is to emphasize what most people see, and that is East and West Broadway.”
For Mayor Steve Galliher, his concern was how yard parking affects the homes around the “violators” and the property value in Sedalia, which in turn affects the city’s credit rating.
“There are several homes on Broadway that are for sale and if you took each one of those and let them park in their yard it’s going to deteriorate fast,” he said. “We’re also hurting the value of homes, and I know of someone who is selling their home (on Broadway) that’s having trouble.”
Another issue brought up by Meier was that he had concerns about targeting certain areas in Sedalia.
“When we start picking out streets in certain geographical areas, wouldn’t that be discrimination?” Meier said.
“We’ve discussed that issue with legal and that specific question was asked in the beginning of this,” Edwards said. “Can we address an area that’s in violation? The answer is yes we can if it is an area that has the distinction of having a public impact on the community, such as the image of the city.”
The final major issue discussed was how to grandfather in homes that currently have extended their driveways due to limited parking for multiple cars. Suggestions included not grandfathering anyone, grandfathering in one home, enforcing the ordinance only for anything that happens after it is passed, including language that specifies how driveways must be maintained, and offering a special permit for those who have more cars than will fit on their driveway and they would follow specifications to extend their driveway in an aesthetically pleasing way.
In an unofficial vote to decide how to proceed, Nash, Bob Cross, Tollie Rowe and Jo Lynn Turley voted to table the proposal until Clean Sedalia and council discussed it further. Meier and Jim Cunningham voted to table the proposal completely and to not revisit the issue.
The current draft of the proposed ordinance will affect homes on East and West Broadway Boulevard between South Merriam and South Warren avenues. No portion of a vehicle can be parked on dirt, grass or gravel that is not part of an “improved” driveway. Existing driveways, paved or unpaved, that don’t exceed 12 feet in width, will be allowed, but any driveways built in the future must be paved. If approved by council, the ordinance will carry a three-tiered fine system for any violators: first violation $100; second violation $200; third and subsequent violations $500.