It’s official: Saturday parking in city stays freeBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | March 20,2013Downtown parking will remain free Saturdays for the foreseeable future.
Mayor Christopher Louras’ veto of a measure to enforce the parking meter ordinance survived Monday’s Board of Aldermen meeting. Alderman Gary Donahue made a motion to sustain the veto, but that motion failed for lack of a second and, it turns out, was unnecessary.
“We didn’t do anything,” Donahue said Tuesday. “By not doing anything, we sustained the veto. We didn’t take any action and it just died right there.”
Alderman Jon Kiernan tried to have the issue sent back to committee, but that motion failed for lack of a second.
Even without the veto, City Attorney Andrew Costello had said the board’s earlier action was likely invalid as it was based on a misunderstanding of the ordinance.
When the board met March 4, the members voted unanimously to support what they believed was the current policy of the police chief, who they believed had authority to enforce the parking ordinance Monday through Saturday.
Shortly after that vote, however, Louras said that the police chief had no such policy and blamed the belief to the contrary on a miscommunication. A review of city records found that the board has the authority to set the times of enforcement and voted in 1994 to enforce it Monday through Friday.
While the board of the Downtown Rutland Partnership had opposed Saturday enforcement, it was promoted by some individual merchants.
One of them was Ivan Rochon of Desjarins Rochon Jewelers, who stressed Tuesday that his purpose was to make sure parking was available for customers and not taken up by people working downtown.
“It’s not about revenue,” he said. “It’s not about anything. ... The merchants of downtown Rutland just want to do business and the employees need to park where they’re supposed to.”
Rochon said he believed an effort by the Downtown Rutland Partnership, which includes one-on-one talks with those taking up the spaces and signs placed in downtown storefronts, will accomplish that goal.
“We have another solution and we’re working on it,” he said.
Rochon described proposed language for the signs, which reads “Street parking is for customers only. Loading zones are for deliveries. We and our associates park elsewhere.”
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