Hollidaysburg ordinance changes parking permits

Without mayor’s signature, council expected to vote again to pass rules

HOLLIDAYSBURG–The mayor refused to sign it, but an amended ordinance is expected to change parking permits in the courthouse district as the result of a 6-1 vote by the council.

Moving forward, residents wanting reserved street parking spots in the highly trafficked courthouse parking district will have to comply with the same rules as residents living in other areas of the borough.

The amended ordinance means no street parking reservations will be granted to courthouse district residents who have off-street parking options including access to an alley in the rear of the property or if there is sufficient lot size to permit a driveway from the street.

The courthouse district comprises the 400 block of Union Street, the 500 block of Union Street and the 500 block of Walnut Street — where courthouse employees and visitors are apt to look for parking spaces.

The amended ordinance is to give courthouse workers more parking options and align the courthouse district’s parking ordinance with other parking districts in the borough, said Councilman Patrick Plummer.

In addition, the amended ordinance places a time restraint on parking reservations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with exceptions at the discretion of the borough manager.

A third change eliminates visitor passes because they have been abused in the past, Plummer said.

However, Plummer repeatedly stressed the change does not affect residents who currently have street parking permits granted. Council estimates there are about eight residents who will be grandfathered in while the amended ordinance will change requirements for future permit applicants only.

Councilman Brady Leahey was adamant that residents with existing parking permits should be grandfathered in. When the proposal originally came in February, Plummer wanted to abolish the existing permits.

Despite achieving a compromise, Brady cast the lone vote against the ordinance when it came to a vote last week.

“I appreciated the compromise, but I still think it is a unique parking situation in the courthouse district that needs to be separated (from the other parking districts),” Leahey said. “Putting the courthouse district on the same level as other areas, I can’t support that because I think it is a unique parking area.”

Plummer, Council Pre­sident Joseph Pompa, Joyce Lowe, Jeffrey Ketner, Mark Shawley and Sean Burke voted to pass the amended ordinance.

The decision was opposed by Mayor Joe Dodson. Because of his refusal to sign it, Plummer expects the council will have to vote again on the ordinance in May before it becomes effective.

Dodson said Monday that he knows the council already has enough support to pass it and his veto will be overturned.

“It’s a done deal,” he said.

He said he refused to sign it because of a basic principle.

“I still think the borough has bigger problems than a few parking spots. I wasn’t for it, and I didn’t sign it,” he said. “Yes, existing permit holders were grandfathered in, but the parking system wasn’t broken. I didn’t hear anyone complain.”

Dodson wants the council to improve roads.

“The council formed a parking committee to look at that issue. Now we should have a pothole committee.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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