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Albany City Commission tables parking ordinance for second time

Proposed law would restrict parking in neighborhoods’ front and side yards

Albany City Manager James Taylor

Albany City Manager James Taylor

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Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard

ALBANY — First, Albany City Commissioners said they wanted a law on the books that restricted parking on residential property within the city limits.

Now, after Tuesday’s commission business meeting, maybe not.

Planning Services Director Paul Forgey presented an ordinance to the commission Tuesday night that would allow the city to “regulate the parking of vehicles or equipment on any surface that is not an improved surface in the front or side yard areas of an improved single-family residence lot.” The ordinance also would have allowed designated neighborhoods to require enforcement of the proposed law through a written petition signed by at least 60 percent of the property owners in the designated neighborhood.

But Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard and Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell balked at enacting the ordinance and led a call to table the matter for a third month of “continued discussion.”

Howard’s concern involved parking at “apartment complexes,” even though Forgey pointed out that the proposed ordinance applied only to single-family residences, and Postell said the inclusion of the word “equipment” in the ordinance’s restrictions left it unclear what equipment was being referenced.

When City Manager James Taylor read from the ordinance a section that clearly said, “‘Vehicle or equipment’ means and includes any house trailer, mobile home, motor vehicle, truck, passenger motor vehicle, motor home, camper cabin, motorcycle, trailer, boat, farm machinery or similar equipment or any truck with more than two axles or any trailer, mobile home or motor home with a length exceeding 20 feet,” Postell then said allowing different neighborhoods to determine whether the ordinance was enforced allowed for “segmentation” of the community.

“I want an ordinance that can be applied throughout the city, not one that’s different from ward to ward,” the Ward VI commissioner said.

Even after Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff explained that the ordinance would allow neighborhoods with smaller lots to allow parking in their front or side yards “if there’s nowhere else to park,” Postell still pushed for and got the matter tabled.

As it stands, Forgey will take the proposed ordinance back to the drawing board with no clear indication of what is expected.

“The commission tabled the matter last month to gather more information, but no one that I’m aware of requested information,” Forgey said Wednesday. “From my research, I thought it was best to let citizens in the city’s neighborhoods decide their standards rather than having the city impose the ordinance on them.

“As it now stands (after Tuesday’s non-vote), there is no ordinance in place that restricts parking in the city limits. There are no restrictions.”

Forgey said the need to address parking in the city limits grew from community complaints about parking at personal care homes located within neighborhoods.

“We couldn’t make a law that restricted parking only at personal care homes, so we tried to address parking in general,” the planning director said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commission OK’d alcohol licenses for the Dawson Road Food Mart at 1200 Dawson Road, Brothers Convenience Store at 1104 Newton Road and ATL Sports Lounge at 1905 S. Madison St. Commissioners also approved one-day alcohol licenses for planned country music concerts at Darton State College June 28 and July 18.

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta, who is a professor at Darton, said the concerts would feature entertainers Corey Smith and Travis Tritt.

“Is this an alcohol license or a concert license?” Postell quipped good-naturedly after Marietta announced the performers.

“I’m just trying to do a little advertising,” Marietta joked back.

Also at the meeting, the commission OK’d an intergovernmental agreement that will allow the city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission to provide “dark” (telecommunications) fiber for the Dougherty County School System, authorized special-purpose local-option sales tax funds for the purchase of crushed asphalt to be used in alleys and approved a recommendation to appoint Ward III Commissioner B.J. Fletcher to the city’s Long-Term Financial Planning Committee. That committee makes recommendations on usage of the so-called “deal-closing fund” created as an incentive for business location or expansion.