Village approves new parking law

L ast Tuesday evening the Whitehall Village Board of Trustees held a public hearing to discuss a potential parking law, which the board approved at the conclusion of the hearing.
Mayor Peter Telisky, Trustee Ken Bartholomew and Trustee Michael LaChapelle voted in favor of the law while Trustees Walt Sanford and Marge Mohn opposed the measure.
The law will be officially known as Local Law No. 2 of 2014 and effectively makes the parking of any vehicle on a grass median in the Village of Whitehall illegal and punishable by a fine, unless otherwise permitted.
“It says except where otherwise permitted, so we can look at a situation and permit it,” Bartholomew explained.
Prior to the board members voting on the law, the public discourse revolved around the topic at hand (parking on medians) but it quickly drifted into issues of parking on your own property and parking on the street, which Telisky repeatedly reassured residents would not be outlawed.
“What you put on your own property, other than junk, is completely up to you,” Telisky said. “This law deals with parking on the median.”
As for what precipitated the law, it is a part of Telisky and the board’s effort to revamp the community, while also emphasizing public safety.
“First it is about safety, second it is about aesthetics,” Telisky added. “We want to make this community beautiful again.”
About three months ago, Bartholomew and Sanford were tasked with the objective of rummaging through the village’s archives to find all parking laws and turn them over to Village Attorney Erika Sellar-Ryan, to combine them into one. The combined law supersedes all previous parking laws.
Bartholomew and Sanford were successful in finding most parking laws, but did miss two. One of the laws dealt with parking on medians and the other regarding the parking of trailers in the village.
Local Law No. 2 deals specifically with parking on medians in the village. A second law is currently in the works, to deal with the parking of trailers on roads in the village, and a public hearing on that potential law will come at a later date.
Board members said they will be working closely with Public Works Supervisor Don Williams and Zoning Officer Garry Bennett on establishing curb cuts for residents who would like to park in front of their property, if there is no threat to public safety.
“If you’ve got a parking problem, we’ll go look at it,” Telisky stated.
Additionally, the board has been working closely with the village police, who are aware of the new law and will be prepared to enforce it.
To simplify the law, locations where parking is allowed include clearly marked parking spaces, on the roadside near a curb and anywhere on your own property. Parking will not be allowed on unpaved medians, sidewalks and anywhere with a no parking sign.
Fines for violations of this new law will be established by resolution of the Village of Whitehall Board of Trustees and can be adjusted.

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