Residents speak to Westover City Council about parking issues

WESTOVER — Two city residents and rental owners told Westover City Council they are concerned about upcoming changes to a parking ordinance.

George Raddish, of Ohio Avenue, and his brother-in-law, Rusty Benson, both spoke to city council about the off-street parking requirements for rental properties.

Raddish said he approved of some of the changes the council had made for the direction of the city, but he was concerned about the changes to rental parking laws.

“I know you want to make changes on it, and I think you are throwing the single-family dwelling in with the apartment complexes,” he said.

The ordinance  determines the number of off-street parking spaces required in a rental. The updated version of the ordinance was passed in 2017 and requires  a single-family dwelling  have two spaces per unit.

Raddish said he and his renters have been using space beside the street to park for a long time.

“We have parked down on Ohio Avenue there since 1957,” he said. “Now, all of a sudden, we can’t park our cars there.”

He said he’s now being told that piece of property belongs to the city and individuals can no longer park there.

“Is that correct? …  You’re saying that’s yours. Fine. I hope it includes everybody on that street that are no longer allowed to use that because there are some people that I know there will keep on doing it.”

Raddish said he wanted to park the cars one behind another on the rental’s driveway.

“You’re telling me that I can park my cars — my rental property has two vehicles,” he said. “Now, you are telling me I cannot park one vehicle behind another one. They have to be side by side.”

Mayor David Johnson said, “That is wrong. I will tell you that. That’s not what we said.”

Johnson said the rental owners have until spring to have off-street parking, but the cars don’t have to be parked side-by-side.

He said Raddish  would have to have two dedicated parking spots, and they could look at his to see what  would be acceptable.

Raddish said he thought the owners of the rentals should be able to do whatever they wanted with the parking.

“Single families, you’re condemning us for our parking spaces, but you must be having trouble with huge places,” Raddish said. …” They may be taking up all your spaces along the street. Why should we pay for what they do?”

Benson said he was concerned about a specific situation in which a trailer was set up 41 years ago and the renter has lived there since. She has no parking, except along the street.

Benson said he wasn’t sure what other options there were.

“My concern is that if (street parking) goes away from her, we are going to have to evict her,” Benson said. “She’s been there for 41 years. She’s almost ready to retire. That would be a shame.”

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