SURGOINSVILLE — Two citizens from Surgoinsville’s Palmer Court area angrily told members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen their frustration with new parking restrictions on the street.
Signs enforcing a new two-hour street parking limit were placed around Palmer Court on at the end of May after Alderman Ken Bass brought the issue to the attention of the BMA during May’s meeting. Bass explained that numerous cars were repeatedly parking on the very short street.
“He (Bass) said that, at some points, there would be seven or eight cars parked on the street that is only a few hundred feet long,” Surgoinsville Chief of Police James Hammonds told the Review. “It would get really crowded. A couple of them were actually cars that were broken down and weren’t running.”
Palmer Court is a dead-end, residential road that is also home to George’s Barber Shop.
“It’s probably no more than 400 feet long,” Hammonds told the Review. “These signs were put up to try to avoid so many cars parked in the street in front of the residences so those driveways aren’t blocked.”
One irate resident of Palmer Court claimed that he has lived on the road for 29 years, has parked along the street the entire time that he has lived there, and didn’t understand why this had to stop.
“I’d like to ask the board of mayor and alderman, ‘how do you all justify placing a two-hour parking sign on our street?’” the citizen asked.
“We had issues, we had complaints,” Mayor Merrell Graham replied.
The citizen then asked Graham to explain the details of such complaints, to which Graham replied in an effort to calm the situation, “I’m not going to go over that right now.”
“Well, I’ve got a complaint,” the citizen rebutted. “There’s a barber shop across my street, and there’s more traffic in and out of that dead-end street than there is on main street. If those people would learn how to park when they come up here, then there won’t be an issue.”
He also argued that, if people were parking along other streets in the town, residents of Palmer Court should be allowed to do so as well. Several members of the BMA countered and claimed that street parking is not allowed anywhere in town where “no parking” signs are present.
“All of our streets are not wide enough to have parking on them all the time,” Chief Hammonds told the Review. “Right now, there is no parking on the pavement. Most of them are even marked ‘no parking’.”
As the discussion went on, the citizen began calling for the barber shop to be shut down, as he argued that the business’ existence had resulted in the two-hour parking limit.
“If he (the barber shop owner) is going to mess with me, then I’m going to mess with him, and I don’t want it (the barber shop) there anymore,” he said. “I’m not going to let the town or the board of mayor and alderman change the way I live to benefit one man.”
The second Palmer Court resident, who also pleaded her case against the two-hour parking signs at last month’s BMA meeting, explained that she did not feel the parking limit was fair to residents of the street. She explained that, if she has company visiting, she often does not have enough room in her driveway everyone to park. However, when she began cursing, she was asked by Graham to “calm down.”
This is not the first time this topic has been discussed at a BMA meeting, as, at the end of the long back-and-forth, Graham explained, “We had a discussion about this last month, and where we left it was that this would be discussed again and we’ll be looking at this. I can’t tell you right now what we will decide, but we will definitely be looking and discussing this.”
In other news, the BMA was set to discuss the application submitted by the new owners of Surgoinsville Market and Deli for a license to sell beer.
“This has to come before the beer board,” Graham said of the matter. Thus, this application will be discussed at the board’s 3:30 p.m. meeting on Monday, August 19.
Additionally, the BMA passed an ordinance on first reading that would amend the code of ordinances that relate to zoning and building permits.
“It’s to add rules to allow — on a special exception basis — building permits to be issued on property that fronts on a right-of-way,” said Vince Pishner, the Surgoinsville Building Inspector. “There’s a detailed set of rules in the ordinance. It won’t apply to every property, but there are some properties that it will apply to.”
This issue will be further discussed at the Planning Commission meeting, which has been moved to Monday, August 19 at 4:30 directly following the beer board meeting.