Marietta City Council discusses parking issues

The hiring of two part-time parking enforcement officers and proposed changes in the length of time vehicles can park in city lots were among the topics discussed by members of Marietta City Council’s employee relations and lands, buildings and parks committees Tuesday afternoon.

“Council is looking at leasing more spaces in city parking lots, so we were looking at hiring a full-time police officer at a projected annual cost of $38,900. But then Councilman (Michael) Mullen suggested hiring two part-time parking enforcement officers that would cost around $38,000 a year,” explained city safety-service director Jonathan Hupp.

He said one advantage of having two part-time parking officers would be the ability to address parking violations on Saturdays in addition to Mondays through Fridays.

“But currently we have no parking attendant positions at all for the city,” Hupp said. “So it would require council legislation to create that position with a job description.”

He noted a previous council did away with the parking enforcement position when the city’s parking meters were removed in 2007.

At that time the parking enforcement officer was earning $45,000 a year, but parking tickets were only generating $25,000, requiring general fund monies to make up the difference.

Hupp said in addition to the parking enforcement positions, council would also have to designate a funding source to support the posts.

“We could pay for this out of monthly rental fees for spaces in city lots and from issuing parking tickets,” said Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.

Council is currently considering converting some parking spaces in the city lots at the corner of Butler and Second streets, Armory Square, and the Putnam Bridge lot to paid monthly parking.

City lots near the Lafayette Hotel, under the Washington Street Bridge, and at Indian Acres Park may also be considered for paid monthly parking.

Revenue from the monthly rental spaces would help cover maintenance costs for each of the lots, and could provide some funding for parking enforcement.

The lands, buildings and parks committee members are also considering changing the amount of time people can park in non-rented city lot spaces from the current two hours to three hours. On-street parking would remain at the two hour limit.

The increase to three hours in city parking lots was proposed to give customers more time to shop and eat at downtown businesses.

But current parking legislation would have to be amended in order to make those changes.

Also on Tuesday, council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee members were asked to develop a resolution accepting the plat for a planned subdivision at the former location of the North Hills School off Colegate Drive.

Developers Bruce and Ben Brunton plan to establish the subdivision with eight building lots measuring about two-thirds of an acre each.

Eric Lambert, project manager for the city engineering department, said passage of the resolution, for recording purposes only, would enable the Bruntons to begin marketing the lots.

The committee members agreed to schedule a special council meeting within the next week to consider approval of the requested legislation.