JEROME – The Jerome Town Council approved Ordinance No. 432 at the Dec. 12 regular meeting, but not without lengthy discussion as often the case with parking-related issues in Jerome. Police Chief Allen Muma was asked by council at the regular October meeting to revise the previous version of the residential parking ordinance to clarify certain language and definitions.
The ordinance will provide both signage for problem streets to be marked as “residential parking only” as well as infrastructure for a parking permit system. Violations of the permit system can result in a $25 citation.
1. Each residence gets one permit
The ordinance states a “recognized dwelling unit” is defined by the Jerome Zoning Ordinance. Units with frontage along a street “shall be entitled for one free residential permit” after submitting the car’s information to the police department. Private property parking is exempt.
There will be no assigned spots – the permits simply allow residents to park on the street. (Residents with a handicap will be given preference to a parking spot, which would be designated as a handicap spot.)
“We hope the homeowners have their own parking, but sometimes that’s not always the case. What happens if we have a three-story house that is supposed to be single residential but there’s three different people living there? It’s going to be very contentious in [those] areas,” Council Member Alex Barber said.
Muma explained that a household with multiple people renting one residence would not be given a space per person – citing that multiple-car households are a major contribution to the parking problem.
2. A parking permit lottery will be utilized
The ordinance states an inventory of all the streets will be conducted to determine available parking spots. The number of spots will be compared to the number of residential parking permit applications.
If there are extra spots, or not enough spots, a lottery system will be utilized to determine which unit gets a permit for that street.
“It’s the only fair way to do it,” Muma said. “The rest of them can park on a street that has parking available or, as it says here, the town can set up residential parking areas,” Muma said.
Potential lots that could be developed into residential parking areas include the town yard, as Council Member Hunter Bachrach pointed out, and the lot behind town hall.
The permits are permanent until the owner moves.
3. Temporary permits add flexibility, but parking is still strained
Residents of Jerome and those visiting residents will still be able to park on residential streets, even without a permit for that street, by filling out a temporary permit a leaving it in the dash.
“It can be a piece of paper folded in half,” Muma said. “We just need to know where you’re at.”
A member of the audience questioned, “If somebody is having friends over, if they’re having a bridge party at their house do we have to call the police department and tell them we’re having this many friends over and there’s going to be strange cars in the hood?”
“It doesn’t happen that often,” said Muma. “As long as you’ve done what I say and your registration is transferred we’re not going to ... ticket all the cars.”
He recommended guests park elsewhere and walk to the residential street instead.
“There’s no parking on the street, you decide to have a Christmas party. You take up all the parking on Verde Street, I can’t park there. My neighbors can’t park there. Is that right? It’s not. That’s not being a neighbor,” Muma said.
“No,” attendees replied.
“It’s not perfect but we have to start somewhere. Because it’s just getting worse,” Muma said.
4. It’s not a perfect solution, but a starting point
Council Member Alex Barber pointed out that if a California tourist is parked in a residential spot, ticketing them doesn’t help the Jerome resident who’s looking for a spot.
Muma said not immediately, but that money will be put into a fund to improve parking. He emphasized that the ordinance is a starting point.
“If we generated the money we can do something about parking rather than kick the can down the street,” Muma said. “If you’re going to come up here and live in this town you have to understand we have limited parking, period.”
You need to know
Streets to be marked as residential: Country Road, School Street, Center Street, Hull Road, Verde Avenue, Holly Street, East Avenue – as well as the following streets but only between Verde Ave and Center Street – First Street Second Street, Third Street, Fourth Street, Fifth Street and Sixth Street.