Hiking 'hood? No-plow street now loses parking
The neighborhood already reeling from getting declared a no plow zone in December just got another unhappy surprise when residents learned that they can no longer park at the end of their cul-de-sac. Now, some residents of this south-of-downtown neighborhood say they don't know where they'll park.
"I have a roommate, a 23-year-old nurse who works nights," says resident Maurie Sutton. "She's going to have to walk through a neighborhood that isn't safe."
And safety isn't the only concern at Roy's Place, a recent 18-lot development at the intersection of Rougemont Avenue and Hartmans Mill Road.
"My 88-year-old grandmother is coming," says Sutton. "She can't walk up the hill."
The City, however, contends that unless it enforces the ban, another safety situation looms: insufficient room for emergency vehicles.
"That loop road is just wide enough for fire access," says city planner Brian Haluska, "so any on-street parking restricts fire trucks. The fire marshal will not permit anything to do that."
Resident Michael Lichtenstein says he doesn't recall any mention of such restrictions in the sales documents.
"I'm an attorney," says Lichtenstein. "Something like that would have jumped out at me."
But Haluska says the development's site plan, approved in 2005, always stipulated just eight parking spaces on the straightaway leading into the neighborhood–- no spaces on the loop around which most of the 16 existing residences stand.
"That's the way the plan was approved," says Haluska, "and that's the way it needs to be implemented."
Residents, one of whom is a Hook staffer, were in an uproar in late December when their plowing requests to the City after a nearly two-foot-deep snowfall were rebuffed. City officials claimed that no plowing would occur because the developer had never finished the sidewalks and other infrastructure. The developer denied the allegation; but in February, for the next major snowfall, he brought in his own snow-moving crews.
It turns out the City's copy of the site plan went missing for over a year, and that the City's warnings about the unfinished items were sent to the wrong address.
"It was made to look like my errors," says the developer Bobby Banks, who notes that the correct address was on his original application.
"Yeah, it was a mistake," says City planning director Jim Tolbert. "That doesn't relieve him of his responsibility."
Banks says he'll begin installing no-parking signs around the curve by the end of March. That means that any guests or second cars–- as each residence has a single-vehicle-driveway–- must scramble for one of the eight spaces on the straightaway.
"Not everybody has two cars," points out planning chief Tolbert. "If their realtor didn't tell them that, I'd be perturbed."
Courtney Modecki is feeling plenty perturbed. "If I'd known all this," she says, "I probably wouldn't buy here."
Sutton is even more emphatic. "I would never, ever have bought a lot here if I'd known."