Leland street parking will rely on permits until code review committee meets

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By Brian Slattery

LELAND - Any changes in Leland’s street parking ordinance will go through the town’s code rewrite committee.

And that will have to wait until the committee reorganizes. Commissioners elected six new members — Gale Packer, Tim Linkhorn, Bob Campbell, Jack Kazmarski, Sam Sorbello and Stephen Whitney — to that committee at the May 15 town meeting. They join the nine-member committee that already included Mose Highsmith, Don Garvey and Betty Marano.

A lack of code issues to pursue and available active members halted committee meetings for more than a year, so the new members will have to determine a meeting time before they can move forward.

Mayor Brenda Bozeman asked board members what they should do about street parking issues in the meantime.

“Jail,” commissioner Jon Tait offered.

Town manager David Hollis said the current parking ordinance will remain in effect.

Town officials have received complaints about tickets for parking along neighborhood streets for the past year and agreed in September to have the staff consider changing Leland’s street parking ordinance.

The town ordinance for parking states: No person shall park any vehicle in the right-of-way of any public street, alley or bridge in the town except as permitted in this code.

The code also includes designated areas for parking in town including the Clairmont Plaza Shopping Center, North Brunswick Shopping Center and residential areas when a valid short-term visitor parking pass is displayed.

Mayor Brenda Bozeman explained that during a previous administration, the council put the parking code in place that prohibits vehicles in the street.

As the town population numbers increased, complaints about parking in the streets grew.

But the mayor at the time devised the system to purchase a one-day parking pass for special occasions at little to no cost to residents.

That relaxed the enforcement of the code the town already had in place.

Based on complaints about parking from neighbors about neighbors, warnings were issued in fall 2013 to educate the public about the town code prohibiting street parking. At the start of 2014, police began issuing tickets for violations.

During the town meeting, Bozeman asked if the parking issue will affect upcoming high school graduation parties.

“Graduation is coming. There will be a lot of cookouts,” Bozeman said.

“And we ask them to request parking permits,” Hollis said.

Commissioner June Crowder took up the question, asking how many permits are residents allowed to request.

According to the town code, one house can request up to 10 permits.

“What do people do who have more than 10 cars?” Crowder asked.

“That may depend on how many parties there are on that street. If it’s the only party, Lt. (Josh) Spence may have mercy on them,” Bozeman said.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.