City Commission holds public hearing on snow emergency ordinance
Mount Pleasant City Commission met Sept. 28 and held a public hearing involving the snow emergency ordinance discussed at the previous meeting on Sept. 14.
This snow emergency ordinance involves altering parking for non-downtown streets. As it stands, overnight parking from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. is prohibited between December and the end of March.
The new snow emergency ordinance would allow parking for non-downtown streets at all times except for when the city declares a snow emergency.
Commissioner Petro Tolas and Lori Gillis were not in favor of the new ordinance. Tolas has been involved with snow removal for more than 40 years. He said he feels the new ordinance creates a safety hazard.
“You create a safety hazard when you don’t plow parking spots,” Tolas said. “How are we going to do this (snow removal) on an emergency notice? It’s tough enough now with the ordinance in place.”
Gillis fears parking on city streets will be used for businesses and other developments. She believes some developers will not provide on-site parking for their customers or tenants.
“My concern in the zoning ordinance was that there were no parking requirements for new development,” Gillis said. “I had a huge concern, but I was told again and again that we have this stipulation that you cannot park from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. in the winter months on the city streets thus the (new development) would be providing parking within their own parcel.”
Commissioner George Ronan felt the new ordinance should be tested first. He requested an amendment requiring a one year report to be given on how beneficial this ordinance is if put in effect.
However, Gillis feels that developers will rely on parking on city streets by the time this ordinance will be reviewed. This prompted Gillis to suggest another amendment.
This amendment would not allow building tenants to be dependent on this ordinance for parking if the city decides to transition back to the time restriction in the future.
Mayor Will Joseph feels Gillis' amendment may be unfair to businesses. He also has concerns since it seems to interfere with the zoning ordinance. Zoning changes typically start at the planning commission.
“I don’t know that I support the motion as I understand it, because I think it’s unfair to businesses in the next 12 months...” Joseph said. “It (also) interferes with the zoning process and site plan review, and it just sort of seems like a different type of motion.”
With these concerns, a final decision on the ordinance was postponed. Commissioners want to seek the city attorney’s feedback on the one year review and amendment.
The entire city commission meeting can be viewed on the city's Youtube channel.