Lowville approves parking changes

While students have always parked on Waters Terrace, the street perpendicular to North State Street in front of Lowville Free Academy in the village, more people have been registering complaints about blocked driveways this year than in the past. Julie Abbass/Watertown Daily Times

LOWVILLE — Village trustees were divided on a solution to Waters Terrace parking challenges brought forward during the board’s Wednesday meeting, but the proposal passed.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Paul A. Denise had devised a sketch of the street that included the number of parking spots he recommended should remain available at all times in front of the first few properties off North State Street where the homes — and the driveways — are farther apart. The map was presented by Mayor Joseph G. Beagle in Mr. Denise’s absence.

“What he would like the board to do is make that area (within 319 feet of North State Street) parking with no time limit and then up above, where the road narrows down, go to the original 7 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.) no parking, Monday through Friday,” Mr. Beagle told trustees.

Within that 319-foot length, there will be 11 parking spaces available. According to observations by a board member, there are now 23 parking spaces along the south side of the quiet street. No parking is allowed on the north side.

Since the March 28 meeting, during which interested parties were invited to join a committee meeting led by Trustee Daniel L. Salmon, village leaders had put out a call for community members to share ideas about how to prevent a build-up of drivers — believed to be primarily students — trying to fit in too many cars along the street. The packed parking has prevented residents from being able to get into or out of their driveways.

During the discussion of Mr. Denise’s proposal, Mr. Salmon said he wanted to reconvene a meeting similar to the first to get additional input “and come back with some ranking of different options realizing that it’s not going to satisfy everybody, but it’s a cooperative effort of all those involved.”

As only two community members have reached out since that meeting, Mr. Beagle said he didn’t anticipate further response and that Mr. Denise had asked the board to approve and move forward his proposal.

Although Trustee Edward Murphy said he is not against Mr. Denise’s proposal, he noted that blocking driveways is against the law on every street and that Waters Terrace is not any different. He also said he didn’t believe a decision had to be rushed. He wanted more time to consider all of the options because, he said, it was the first time he had heard most of them.

Mr. Salmon and Mr. Murphy logged “no” votes on the motion made by Trustee Timothy R. Widrick to approve Mr. Denise’s hybrid solution to the issue, with the caveat that the new law takes effect Sept. 1.

Mr. Beagle and Mr. Widrick, who said the board “should just do it and evaluate in a couple of months,” supported the proposal.

Before breaking the tie, Trustee Charles C. Terrillion said he believed there should be more discussion but would vote in favor of the proposal with a plan to reevaluate the impact of the change as suggested by Mr. Widrick.

All of the trustees agreed that lines should be applied to indicate the parking spaces in addition to new signage.

A public hearing was held during the board’s March meeting. Because the motion approved is less restrictive than what was already addressed in the hearing, village attorney Joseph W. Russell said the public hearing on the originally proposed local law change to completely eliminate parking on Waters Terrace in March satisfied the need for a new hearing.

“I’m sure not everybody’s going to be happy,” Mr. Beagle said in a separate interview. “It’s a compromise is basically what it is.”

Students from Lowville Free Academy who drive to school have always used the street for parking, though residential complaints about driveway blockages have increased this year, precipitating the discussions and change to the parking law.

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