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.”