President asks council to consider free parking

Proposes eliminating control officer, fees

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — Troy City Council President Martha Baker proposed eliminating the city’s parking control officer and to consider free un-timed parking in downtown Troy during council comments on Monday.

At the close of the council business, Baker directed her comments to the council as a whole. Baker does not vote on agenda items unless there is a tie vote.

Baker said her comments were from the Oct. 29 committee meeting and following the review of several emails.

“I am now suggesting that council members think about opening up all parking downtown to free and un-timed parking for all,” Baker said.

Baker suggested the city try the free parking for a six-month to a year-long time period.

“Financially it’s not paying off for us to continue to subsidize the parking control position, the wages and costs that go with that, and as far as I can see, we have nothing to lose to try this for awhile to cover the kiosk, parking meters, and two- and three-hour parking signs and give it a six month or a year-long try and see how it works out.”

“We would definitely be creating less regulation rather than creating more layers and we would be making our city more welcoming and user-friendly to our visitors,” Baker said.

Baker said merchants could control parking for their employees so they wouldn’t park in front of their stores.

Baker noted the time city staff has put in to researching the Parking Placard program and Amnesty program to searching for “a satisfactory solution for all.”

Baker also noted the two parking program proposals could make parking more confusing than it is currently “and not going to please many.” She also stated the proposals could create additional work in issuing placards and “free passes” for first-time offenders and parking tickets for others.

“And we’ve been told that it still won’t cover our expenses,” she said. “Obviously, given any number of cars any day that are parked in the downtown area there are spots and I am at a loss to figure out why it really matters who parks where … I feel like it would make our city friendlier. I just ask that you give it consideration because now would be the time to make the change. It can be discussed further at the next committee meeting on this topic,” she said.

A Streets and Sidewalks Committee to continue to discuss the proposed programs has not been set as of press time.

Council member Robin Oda said she “whole heartedly agreed” with Baker’s statement.

Council member Bill Lutz thanked Streets and Sidewalks Committee chair Bobby Phillips for a well-run meeting regarding the parking proposals on Oct. 29.

In other news:

Resident Lester Conard said he hoped residents would get out and vote to “make this town proud of the turnout.”

“Vote your heart, vote your thoughts, vote your wallet,” Conard said.

Riverside Drive resident Don Hetzler said he felt obligated to check and see if council has again reviewed the Riverside Drive Phase II project.

“We still have residents who can be good neighbors or they can be disgruntled citizens of Troy about this I can say it that way, but we still object to that bike path being in our front yards,” Hetzler said.

Hetzler said the city has informed residents that if the bike path moves to the other side of the roadway, the city will move the road to the residents’ side of their yard.

“We are kind of at a catch-22, personally I don’t care to have a bike path in my front yard, but I think I can tolerate it more than a road in my front yard,” Hetzler said.

Hetzler also addressed the city’s proposal of sewer hookup during the project. Hetzler said the city has told residents if they hook up to sewer services they must annex into the city of Troy.

“From what I understand that’s not really a law, in fact, from the citizen’s perspective looking at it, the health district forcing us to connect to it, which they will do, I have confirmed that with the health district, they will force us to connect that sewer drain. We live in the (Concord) township, that means that with the city’s current rules, we’ll have to annex to the city. We don’t believe that’s right, we don’t think it’s a good thing to do. We are pretty sure the city can waive that and say ‘OK, go ahead and hook-up, maintain your residency in the township and we are just going to let this stuff go.’ That’s what we’d like to see done. We still don’t think that whole project is necessary. We don’t think we need new sewer and drains.”

Hetzler said the area is well-drained and noted the only area that has retained water is off of the cemetery which has gathered “ a little puddle” following the last week’s 4 or more inches of water.

Hetzler said he hopes the residents’ issues and the financial issues are addressed at the next committee meeting.

“We don’t need sewer, we don’t need curbs, we like the access to our yards, we like living in the township. We all love Troy and we are close. I think we are good neighbors and I think it should stay that way,” he said.

Council member Brock Heath was not present at the meeting. All council agenda items were approved. The public hearing regarding the Kettering Health Network Troy Hospital amended planned development proposal will be held Nov. 19.
Proposes eliminating control officer, fees

By Melanie Yingst