Council turns down request to suspend overnight parking bylaw for Montgomery Village residents

March 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

A local family was left with no other choice than to contemplate its long-term future when Orangeville Council turned down a request to suspend enforcement of its overnight parking bylaw at some off-street  parking areas in Montgomery Village.

Jim Hill, who has lived in the subdivision with his wife and two children since it was constructed in 1995, says he has accrued more than $750 in parking tickets since last December 1. In addressing council on March 5, Mr. Hill said his family has been left with “no other choice” than to park their vehicles in one of the six designated overflow parking areas in the subdivision and questioned why he was now being punished for doing so.

“We’ve lived in that area for 22 years and have regularly parked our vehicles (in one of the lots). We’ve never had a problem before this year,” Mr. Hill told council.

Due to the way the neighbourhood was designed – with single garages and parking pads behind most of the homes – many residents who own more than two vehicles have found themselves with nowhere to park. As a result, Mr. Hill says, a large number of residents take advantage of overflow parking spaces behind the homes on Montgomery Boulevard between Alder St. and Dogwood St., during the winter months – when the municipality’s overnight winter parking bylaw prohibits locals from leaving their vehicles on streets.

With more than 30 parking tickets to his name, which he says he intends on fighting in court, Mr. Hill said he was “beyond frustrated” when councillors queried municipal staff on why this issue was only coming to light this year.

“Myself and Councillor Campbell have been here since 1997 and this is the first time this issue has come up. How come, for the other 20 years, this issue hasn’t come before council?” Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock asked.

Public Works Director Doug Jones said he didn’t know why this issue was only just coming to light now, stating the municipality’s bylaw regarding overnight parking on municipal lots has been consistent for decades.

“It’s my understanding that this specific bylaw has been in place since Montgomery Village has been built,” Mr. Jones said. “The way the current bylaw is written, if you’re currently parking in those lots overnight, you are in violation of the bylaw. Our officers are simply following the rules as stated in the bylaw.”

He added, “To the best of my knowledge, the only way we could go about allowing (the residents) to use the lots overnight without being ticketed would be to make an exemption in the bylaw.”

The municipality’s argument appears to be that the lots need to be empty so plows can clear them after a big snowfall. According to Mr. Jones, if there are vehicles parked in the lots it makes it very difficult, if not impossible for staff to do their jobs. He indicated any such exemption to the bylaw could also put the Town in jeopardy of potential lawsuits should a resident injure themselves in  an unplowed lot.

Mr. Hill quickly responded that residents who park their vehicles on the lots largely take care of removing snow themselves.

Mayor Jeremy Williams appeared to sympathize with Mr. Hill’s predicament, making a motion to suspend bylaw enforcement for the lots surrounding Montgomery Village until April 1, at which point he’d like to see Town staff conduct a “full and thorough” report on the municipality’s winter and overnight parking regulations. While Coun. Don Kidd supported the motion, councillors Scott Wilson and Gail Campbell, along with Deputy Mayor Maycock, voted against it.

“I think the residents and us are caught between a rock and a hard place right now,” Coun. Campbell said. “Public works is giving us the best advice they can by not having vehicles parking in those lots during the winter. I cannot support this motion tonight because it’s only a short-term solution. I need to see more of a long term fix.”

Coun. Wilson came up with perhaps the best idea to stem from the discussion, indicating that council could look into selling parking permits for those lots in an attempt to help out the Montgomery Village residents. He went on to say that any such move should come after municipal staff have had the opportunity to put together a “formalized” report.

And so, with no real answers given or solutions provided, Mr. Hill and his wife Suzanne, who was also in attendance, were left perplexed by what they saw as council simply turning a blind eye to their concerns.

“This is ridiculous,” Mr. Hill said. “What am I supposed to do now? Do I have to put my house up for sale? Where are we supposed to park? The least you guys could have done was help us out until April.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.