By Agrippina Fadel
The City of Tamarac is considering taking the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. parking ordinance off the books.
At the workshop on Jan. 10, the commission members came to a consensus about removing the ordinance.
Commissioners Marlon Bolton and Debra Placko agreed having an overnight parking ordinance that has not been enforced in years does not make sense.
The commission members discussed the problem with the lack of parking spaces in the residential areas, which leads to overcrowded driveways and blocked cul-de-sacs and often stops the emergency vehicles from getting through.
Commissioner Elvin Villalobos said as Tamarac grows and more families move in, the lack of parking becomes more apparent. “If you drive around the city, you are going to see the excess cars parked on the streets in all areas, except maybe for 55 plus communities,” he said.
Mayor Michelle Gomez said the city has been dealing with the residential parking issue for years. She explained that while some communities wanted the overnight parking ordinance enforced, others did not see it helpful.
She said the problem of enforcing any parking ordinance becomes even more complicated due to different rules in HOAs, with some residents asking for extra cars to be towed and the city trying to find the best way to help the communities without imposing the rules that won’t work for some areas.
Gomez said the community needs to be involved in the parking issue. A meeting at city hall or discussions organized by each district may be scheduled, but first would have to be arranged with COVID-19 precautions mind.
“It is very difficult to find a consensus on this topic, and it puts the problem on us and makes people very unhappy,” she said, adding that having so many people and cars on the streets is a safety issue.
“When people cannot get out of their driveways to go to work in the morning because there are cars blocking them, it becomes a serious problem,” said Gomez. She added that part of the responsibility lies on the residents as well.
“You know you are moving into a community, and the house only has parking for two or four cars. You need to be responsible and maybe consider expanding your driveway. You cannot expect the community or the city to completely change the existing rules,” said the mayor.
Villalobos offered his colleagues to look into a way for the city to streamline the process of the extension of driveways so it is easier for the residents to do it.
“I think most people don’t know they can extend their driveways,” he said.
Placko weighed in, saying she does not want to dictate to people how many cars they can have.
“We are living in a new world now, where young people are staying home and have parents with a car each. How can you tell someone, “You just bought a house, and now we will tow your car because you have one too many?” she said.
Commissioner Mike Gelin added that the Tamarac code is one of the reasons for the lack of parking spots in the residential areas – when developers built new homes, they did not include enough parking.
“It makes no sense to penalize people when it is Tamarac’s fault for designing and building communities that do not have adequate parking. We need to change the code to allow for more spots in future developments,” he said.
The members of the commission, BSO, and the city staff agreed to discuss the issue of the parking ordinance and code enforcement at future workshops. The final vote on the overnight parking ordinance is to be made at the regular commission meeting.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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