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City Commission votes to put "No Parking" signs back on Preston Street

Commissioners also approved an ordinance to temporarily prohibit recreational marijuana facilities

Commissioners discuss recreational marijuana legislation at the Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting June 10 at City Hall.

During a discussion-filled meeting June 10 in City Hall, the Mount Pleasant City Commission approved multiple pieces of legislation related to recreational marijuana and traffic control.

After dozens of complaints from residents, the Commission voted to replace the "No Parking" signs on the south side of Preston Street. The signs were removed for 90 days as a trial, to see if allowing parking on both sides of the street would be beneficial for traffic flow and safety.

The trial was proposed after city staff found plans from 2002 that had designed Preston to eventually have parking on both sides. City Manager Nancy Ridley said the original plans stated adding parking on both sides would increase safety by slowing traffic down.

However, during the 90-day trial period, it appeared the plan was not correct. City Hall received complaints from residents about people parking too close to intersections and in front of fire hydrants and driveways. Residents also said backing out of their driveways was difficult because of low visibility and high traffic speeds.

"When I back out of my driveway, I have to back out into oncoming traffic," said Paula Erskin, Preston Street resident and executive secretary for athletics at Central Michigan University. "There is virtually no visibility and the average speed is about 45 miles per hour."

The commissioners were in agreement with the residents and voted 6-1 to put the "No Parking" signs back. Mayor William Joseph was the only one who voted no.

Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance to temporarily opt out of allowing recreational marijuana facilities in town. The temporary ordinance can be repealed at any time, and is meant to allow commissioners time to create time, place and manner restrictions for recreational marijuana facilities. 

Vice Mayor Lori Gillis stressed that the ordinance is temporary, and the commission respects voters' decision to legalize marijuana. Mayor Joseph agreed.

"We are being responsible with our decision to wait," he said. "Over 400 communities in the state of Michigan have chosen to opt out and my feeling is that most of those are temporary because the state is moving faster than they did with medical marijuana regulations."