North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays said Monday he might support a new proposal regarding residential yard parking as the two aldermen behind it backed off a tougher measure they put forward in late June.
The mayor, who had expressed his opposition to that earlier proposal banning parking in side and back yards, said he was “extremely sympathetic” to Monday’s new one and “could support something like what’s before us.”
Ward 4 Aldermen Murry Witcher and Charlie Hight in late June proposed prohibiting residents citywide from parking their vehicles in the side and front yards of home, but at the City Council meeting Monday they instead put forward in its place an amendment creating a third way for homeowners to establish restricted parking districts.
Under a city ordinance enacted in 2008, property owners can petition for the creation of a parking district within a district or an organization having authority over a district can apply for one.
Jason Carter, city attorney, said Witcher’s and Hight’s new proposal would allow neighborhood groups to request the establishment by the city of a district banning such yard parking where they live. Such a request also would require the formal support from both of the aldermen representing the ward where the neighborhood is located as well as the support of the mayor before coming before the full council for a final OK.
“This is totally different from what you came here for,” Hight said to several dozen people at the Monday night meeting.
He went on to say that a petition from the Amboy/Belwood Neighborhood Association and the Amboy Neighborhood Crime Watch against the ban, as well as other complaints and protests, had motivated him to abandon the June proposal he and Witcher supported and make Monday’s new one.
A half dozen still spoke to the council in opposition to any change in or addition to the 2008 ordinance. Three spoke in favor of the city taking stronger action against yard parking.
Most of those in opposition urged the council to take no further action on yard parking and said they considered the matter settled with the 2008 ordinance.
Speakers in favor protested that in such neighborhoods as Indian Hill, property values are threatened by continued parking by some residents in front and side yards.
One Indian Hills resident said he would like to see restrictions placed on the parking of trailers and recreational vehicles on residential lots.
The council will consider the issue and the new proposal for creating parking districts at its next regular meeting July 23. Hays said public comment on it also will be allowed then.
Further consideration of another controversial issue — reclassifying the land use for property at the southeast corner of Faulkner Lake Road from Residential-2/Commercial-2 to Residential 3 to allow for a multifamily development — was postponed until August.
Alderman Maurice Taylor said a public meeting between nearby residents concerned about the development’s impact on their subdivisions and the developers proposing the new construction had to be canceled and has yet to be rescheduled. He said the ordinance effecting the reclassification, which was tabled at the June 25 meeting, will not be called again for council action until that meeting can take place.
In other business, the council agreed to:
• Certify tax lien amounts against properties at 918 W. 23rd St., 817 W. 23rd St. and 2308 Railroad Ave.
• Authorize the mayor and city clerk to enter into a lease agreement with Gain Inc. for property at 504 W. 51st St.
• Appropriate $14,408 for the purchase of equipment and programs for the city Fire Department.
• Appoint commissioners to the Counts Massie/Collins Road Municipal Improvement District No. 1.
• Grant a special use for a residence in a business at 2 E. 56th Place.
• Vacate and relocate a drainage easement at the northwest end of Michaela Drive.
• Establish job classifications and numbers of employees for each city department for 2012.
• Waive formal bidding requirements for the replacement of relays at the Murray Hydroelectric Plant at a cost of $230,600.
The ordinance waiving the bidding states the replacement requires “specialized services and parts that are not generally available, and delays in [the plant’s] operation can be costly” and “replacement of these relays must be made as soon as possible.”