Oswego Councilors Seek Input On Winter Parking Policy

A sign announcing the city's overnight parking ban in previous years

A sign announcing the city's overnight parking ban in previous years

OSWEGO – It’s a problem nearly as old as Oswego itself. Where can someone park during the Port City’s winters?

At Monday night’s Planning and Development Committee meeting, councilors discussed ways to “enhance winter parking permit process and associated fees,” according to committee chair Ron Tesoriero.

The full council will schedule a public hearing to allow residents a chance to speak on any proposed changes.

First Ward Councilor Susan McBrearty is spearheading the tentative changes to the policy.

One of the changes would be “Properties with no off-street parking options” may apply for parking permits. The first permit application fee would be $75. The second would be $150.

Properties with one off-street parking space and two or more vehicles would pay a $150 fee.

If the application isn’t granted, the fee would be returned.

Councilors voiced a few concerns regarding the possible impact the changes might have on rental property vs. owner occupied housing and whether the changes could impinge on existing zoning laws.

Also it was pointed out that a young family putting down roots in Oswego and renting a house could be penalized because they don’t own the house.

City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli said he’d be happy to study the proposal and get back to all the councilors to answer any questions they may have.

The resolution before the committee Monday night was just to forward the item to the full council to consider whether to set a public hearing.

“We’re in the process of trying to make it better. It might not be perfect for every situation,” Tesoriero said. “We’re trying to find a solution that makes sense. It’s only going to increase property values. People will want to come and live here.”

“This us just the beginning, he added. “There will be plenty of time to discuss the items on this as we go forward”

Second Ward Councilor Linda DeMassi agreed.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions here,” she said. “We need to have more discussion and find out what is affected by this before we move forward.”

The ordinance could be amended by resolution later, the city attorney said.

“We have to do our jobs, do our homework,” the chairman said. “That’s why we need to invite the public to speak. This is just not a simple matter. We have to put a lot of thought into it. We want to get it right. This has been before three or four councils over the years.”

An audience member broached the idea of parking garages.
“You don’t have the parking space. You’ve got space where you could put parking garages,” he told the committee.

“From what I’m hearing from the committee is that this is not ready to move on,” DeMassi said. She suggested tabling the resolution.

However, Tesoriero noted that the resolution was only to seek a public hearing; that would allow for further discussion, by more people,

The committee unanimously voted to send the matter to the full council. The tentative date for the hearing would be Oct. 9 at 7:19 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, West Oneida Street.

In the past, free overnight parking is available in the following municipal lots:


Former Flexo-Wire site – south side of lot/Schuyler Street
Breitbeck Park – parking lot near the bell tower
Wright’s Landing marina
West First Street – parking lot south of the U.S. Post Office
West Cayuga at West First Street – 12 spots on West First Street side of parking lot


Fort Pool parking lot
Burkle Street – parking lot (strip) across from Bishop Commons

Historically, “The mayor, at his discretion, may impose a winter parking ban commencing on or after December 1 and continuing through March 31. The mayor may suspend or remove the winter parking ban prior to March 31 at his discretion if winter conditions permit. During such time as the winter parking ban is imposed, the parking of any vehicle on all highways and streets shall be prohibited between the hours of 1 and 6 a.m.”


  1. The first thing the zoning laws need to be enforced. When and if people come to get permits there should be an inspection to see how many un-related people live in an apartment. They might learn that the apartments are packed with people. Also the city needs to look at the places that have been approved for one car parking parallel to the curb in public space, that are now being used for several cars being parked perpendicular in those spaces, with the ends of the cars hanging out into the road. The existing law provides protection for the many (fire, ambulance access) at the expense of few. In all the years it hasn’t been a problem but for the last 10 or so years. People need to be aware of parking when choosing a place to live. It’s simple as that. Let’s stop trying to make this about Quality of life.

  2. Oh for Pete’s sake. Go back to no parking in the winter. It worked for 100 years with a bigger population. (the streets were better plowed then too!)

  3. If any of you remember…the streets didn’t get plowed half the time. I got stuck twice on a main street and saw others stuck on bridge. The fact of the matter is not the snow. In the last 5yrs, it has only snowed and needed plowing in the over night hrs only a few weeks the whole winter. Now, it has become…let’s charge for this that and the other! BS! Is what it is. Alternating parking is best for all! Prove it otherwise! Oh, lets have a open meeting, that will tell all…again BS! Oswego, you’re making this winter parking look like a calculus problem, unbelievable.

  4. Why not try the 24 Hr Odd/Even parking instead of the ridiculous 1-6am? This works in many cities much larger than Oswego. Think of the residents for once! This is an old city with minimal off street parking. Makes much more sense to be able to COMPLETELY clean each side every 24 hrs instead of trying to plow around cars in the road leaving piles of snow for others to drive through. Do you think people choose to park on the streets and clean out their buried cars daily? Off street parking is very limited in older cities. Try to change some of these inconveniences and maybe some of the abandoned, run down houses will be occupied again!

  5. Death and Taxes has it right. The no parking on city streets in the winter has worked for a long time. This keep going over the over night ban on parking every year is just plain nuts.

  6. Odd even parking worked perfectly well, whereas the full parking ban is a nightmare. It requires people to walk a mile in the literally freezing weather (plus wind) to get to their cars. It’s inhumane and impractical when there’s no reason Odd/Even parking can’t be implemented.

  7. There are numerous houses in the city with no off street parking. I own one of them. I like the alternate parking option. It seems to treat the problem in a fair and equitable way for all.

  8. We’ve visited several small cities with alternate side of the street parking over the past 10 years. It seems to work well in all of them. We’ve asked friends who live in places that have it, and they all say it’s no big deal. Just can’t understand why it’s such a huge issues to give it a try here in Oswego. As many other have suggested, why not try it in neighborhoods that are the most impacted by lack of parking, and see how it goes after a couple of winters? Also, why would you rent or buy a house that didn’t have a parking space for you and then complain afterwards that you have nowhere to park? If you’re old enough to rent your own place, you’re old enough to find out if there is parking for you BEFORE you sign a lease. I’m just not sympathetic to that argument.

  9. Did those Cities get over 150″ of snow? How about Lake Effect? Fulton gets the same amount of snow as Oswego but has a parking ban. Their DPW sucks but the roads get cleared overnight. BTW – if kids in Syracuse can walk a mile to school, you can walk a mile to your car

  10. And what happens wheyhalf the block doesn’t get up and move there cars and the other half shovels their snow out into the plowed side??? Lived in Rochester and it doesn’t work there… off street parking only. This has worked for years and the MAJORITY of people in Oswego like it the way it is.

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