Townwide on-street parking issue up for review in Richmond Hill
July 10, 2014
By Kim Zarzour
Rules for parking on Richmond Hill streets have been “tweaked”, but you can expect a full review — including consultation with all residents — next year.
Council agreed to adopt three changes to on-street parking bylaws after hearing from five residents with suggestions for improvements.
After two hours of debate Monday, a majority of councillors voted to change the current $15 temporary parking permit — which allows five consecutive days of on-street parking — to a $3 per night permit.
Residents will also be permitted to park on their own street between June and October, when their driveway is being repaired, for up to three cars and five days a year. (Residents must still apply for a permit for this purpose and the fee will be waived.) As well, councillors agreed to a motion that would encourage bylaw enforcement officers to use discretion before ticketing illegally parked vehicles.
The changes followed a series of motions brought to council by Ward 1 Councillor Greg Beros, who said residents in his Oak Ridges ward find the current temporary on-street parking permits expensive and the limits unreasonable. Many complained they were ticketed for street parking while their houses were renovated or driveways repaired, he said.
Gisella Imbrogno, of Jefferson Sideroad, told council bylaw officers should be renamed because “the title officer … seems to bring with it … an over-inflation of that person’s sense of power and control. It is used, in many cases, for intimidation, in my opinion.”
They should have their performance reviewed every six months to see if they are using discretion and common sense, she said.
Dennis Dixon, of Thistle Avenue, suggested residents should be allowed to park on the street more than the current maximum of five times per year “because ultimately we want this to become a family town … and the problem we’re seeing is friends and family are saying no to coming out to Richmond Hill or having to leave Richmond Hill to go to other places.”
Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora agreed changes are needed.
“This has been an issue that has been dogging us for many, many years,” he said, adding that rather than piecemeal changes suggested by Beros, a comprehensive review, slated for 2015, should be expedited.
“We need to address this quickly,” he said.
But planning commissioner Ana Bassios said a study on on-street parking, particularly in residential areas, was approved and funded by council to be conducted 2015, after staff first completes a more pressing parking study focused on the downtown core — where space is limited and disputes have arisen.
EXTENSIVE PUBLIC CONSULTATION
The parking study will include extensive consultation across the entire town, she said.
Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg suggested this more fulsome study is a better way to go.
“There are concerns, I appreciate that. We have young families and there are parties, and we’re not against that,” she said.
“There are a growing group of populations across this town that would like the parking issue addressed. But the majority of suburban neighbourhoods do not want on-street parking in front of their houses on a regular basis. That’s why we need to consult with the public about any changes to parking bylaws. There are a lot more residents who want a say in this.”
Ward 4 Councillor David West said he has heard complaints from residents on both sides of the issue — those who do want more on-street parking, and those who don’t.
Some, especially those living near the hospital, are “absolutely sick and tired of people parking in front of their house.
“I am uncomfortable with the haste with which this is being put together on an issue I think is very significant,” he said. “Residents of my ward and others I presume got no notice of this motion, their views are not represented. I would like to see a fulsome discussion ... to make sure we get this right.”
Beros said that while a comprehensive discussion is planned, the changes approved Monday would be “a small tweak” to give residents choices.
Temporary on-street parking info is available online here: bit.ly/1qjVOGQ or at richmondhill.ca