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Leland will work out street parking issues at April 29 special meeting

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By Brian Slattery

Leland will work out problems resulting from on-street parking at a workshop at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 29 in Leland Middle School.

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

The town ordinance for parking currently 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.

Jennifer McMullen spoke during the April 17 meeting’s public comment period on the parking situation.

She said despite living in Leland for 22 years, she never knew she couldn’t park on the road in front of her house, until she received a ticket.

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 a 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.

Bozeman said that over the last few months the town hall has experienced an increase in complaints about parking from neighbors, about neighbors.

“When we keep getting calls on it, we have got to do something,” Bozeman said.

The town staff began enforcing the parking ordinance.

Another commenter, Regina Haggerty of Brunswick Forest, said the town’s rule is too draconian.

“The ordinance does not take into (account) when a call for help comes in the middle the night,” Haggerty said, adding that she has a neighbor who often needs assistance in the evening.

“The town needs to get in step. There are many older people living in single family homes who need help at different hours,” she said.

To get in step on the parking issue, town officials opted to host the workshop to collect ideas about parking from Leland’s various neighborhoods.

Haggerty provided her opinion on a parking solution at the town meeting, not waiting for the Tuesday workshop.

“If the town is looking to make money, then sell parking permits to every homeowner so they can park anywhere,” Haggerty said.

Bozeman said coming up with a new method for dealing with parking on town streets is one of Leland’s growing pains.

“But we know that one size does not fit all,” Bozeman said.

Town Manager David Hollis said the post master and fire chief will be invited to the workshop to include the needs to deliver mail and respond to emergencies without finding roads blocked by parked cars.

To ensure all of the public has a chance to participate in shaping the parking ordinance, the town has set up an online survey to determine how much residents know about the current ordinance and what opinions they have on making changes to it.

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tolparking.

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