Following a spirited debate Monday night among aldermen, members of the North Little Rock City Council opted to hold off voting on a proposed amendment that would have set a drop dead date of Dec. 22, 2018, for people to stop using gravel surfaces for parking on their residential property if they reside within a restricted parking district.
The legislation was sponsored by Alderwoman Debi Ross, who said a major reason for bringing the amendment before the council was to allow all city residents time to remove their gravel parking surfaces before they could get fined by the city. As the city’s rules read now, residents in violation of the rule could be fined now.
Ross said two city residents recently had been cited by the city for having gravel driveways in restricted parking districts.
"They brought this to my attention and they had told me they didn’t know," Ross said.
The gravel driveway cases were set to be taken to court for enforcement purposes; however, Monday’s action has appeared to put a hold on prosecuting the two cases at least for now.
During the council meeting, Smith appealed to Ross, "A hold could be put on this and something else could be brought back that everybody can live with."
Ross responded by asking Smith to put a moratorium on the city issuing any more gravel parking citations until the issue is resolved.
Smith told Ross he would agree.
Alderman Charlie Hight said he really doesn’t want to see any more rules passed to try and fix the problem.
"I don’t see why people can’t just sit down and work out an solution, on a case-by-case basis," Hight said.
Hight said some neighborhoods in North Little Rock like Park Hill and Lakewood that have had gravel-parking surfaces for several decades.
Hight said he understood the importance of restricted parking rules set up in parking districts had the intentions of stopping people from parking in their front yards.
Alderman Murry Witcher said he wants to see the leaders in the different parking districts within North Little Rock to have more authority to say how they want those rules enforced in their own areas.
Witcher added that when people asked years ago to have the parking districts set up that they were agreeing to abide by certain restrictions.
Aldermen Steve Baxter and Bruce Foutch said this issue doesn’t impact their areas because Ward 3 has no restricted parking districts.
The issue is expected to be brought up again when the council meets on March 10.