Village Board rolls back parking ban

B y Lee Tugas

With only three village residents offering comment, the Whitehall Village Board, in passing a new parking law, eliminated its 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. wintertime parking ban.

Since late autumn, the village board members have tried to reduce the wintertime ban from 11 p.m. to 7 am. to a more lenient 3 to 6 a.m. or 3 to 7 a.m.

One of the residents, Donna Tipton, understood what the village board all along had intended to do by proposing a 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. ban.

“Three to seven means you can’t stay out all night,” Tipton said. “It means park your car when you go to bed,” she added.

Nevertheless, the board did not waste much time in re-proposing the 3 to 7 a.m. ban; instead, after a number of motions and seconds, the board voted to establish wintertime parking bans on a case by case basis by “resolution.”

By enacting its new parking law, the board also gave Department of Public Works Superintendent Don Williams the authority to declare snow emergencies in which all village streets are cleared of parked cars to let village plow crews do their job.

Twice this winter, a heavy one for a change, Williams has declared snow emergencies.

Williams left before the parking law was enacted, but he said that he believed snow emergencies would work.

“I’d rather see it stay 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.,” Williams said, “but I know you will go with doing it by resolution.”

For the last time, Mayor Peter Telisky made clear his opposition to an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. ban.

“I will not enact an 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ban, because it is not enforceable on either Main Street or in front of the Elks. And it hasn’t been enforced in the past.”

After about a half-hour of discussion and public comment, the board unanimously approved the new parking law.

Following the vote, Trustee Walt Sandford, who had favored the 3 to 7 a.m. ban, mused aloud about the impact of the board’s decision.

“It will be interesting to see how it works out,” Sandford said.

Besides Tipton, the only other two residents attending were Jane Gendron and George Houghtby.

Gendron stressed that under the new snow emergency system, the village would have to take pains that all residents were duly notified.

Telisky said that in addition to using all media outlets, and posting it on the village police website, that village police were developing a system where village residents can give police their e-mail addresses, and thus be immediately notified of snow emergencies.

Gendron pointed out that even in this computer-saturated age, not all village residents are well off enough to afford computers. The long-time village resident waxed nostalgic about an earlier, simpler notification system.

“I do miss those fire whistles,” she said.

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