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Proposed Mitchell parking ban may re-emerge

A proposal similar to the streetside parking ban for campers, boats and trailers in Mitchell could resurface. In June, a plan backed by Mayor Jerry Toomey to bar several prohibited implements from parking streetside in Mitchell got the boot from ...

Paul Kindt's trailer sits parked on South Edmunds Street in Mitchell. Kindt moves his trailer at least once every 48 hours in compliance with city law. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)
A vehicle and trailer sit earlier this year parked on South Edmunds Street in Mitchell. (Daily Republic file photo)

A proposal similar to the streetside parking ban for campers, boats and trailers in Mitchell could resurface.

In June, a plan backed by Mayor Jerry Toomey to bar several prohibited implements from parking streetside in Mitchell got the boot from the City Council, which voted 6-0 to kill the plan. But Toomey said he plans on revisiting the proposal at some point in the future.

The proposal would have banned campers, motor homes, flatbed and enclosed trailers, boats, pontoons, jet skis and other watercraft from being parked on Mitchell's streets. Toomey supported the cause on the grounds it would beautify Mitchell while simultaneously boosting safety by clearing roadways of obstructive implements and vehicles.

The public outcry prior to the vote on the proposed ordinance was loud, but Toomey suspects the majority of Mitchell residents supported the plan while it was misinterpreted by others.

"There were too many (who) jumped (to) conclusions without understanding what was being proposed," Toomey said in an email response to The Daily Republic recently. "I believe it was a perfect example of the noisy minority being heard and the silent majority once again not speaking up."

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The plan would have allowed the public to acquire 20 temporary permits to park prohibited implements streetside for 24 hours, but City Council member said they heard heavy opposition.

Councilman Marty Barington said at a June meeting that his phone "rang off the hook" with concerned callers, and Councilwoman Susan Tjarks said "100 percent" of the calls, texts and emails she received were from people against the ordinance.

But once the ordinance was denied, Toomey said the trailers and boats began to appear again.

"When the proposed ordinance died, I wonder how many people noticed how quickly the trailers, campers and boats suddenly reappeared on our city streets in large numbers?" Toomey asked. "You don't see this in most other cities because they have a workable ordinance to control the proliferation of boats, campers, non-commercial trailers, pontoons and ATV's on their city streets."

After Mitchell spends thousands in advertising to bring tourists and tax dollars to the city, Toomey said these large implements or vehicles parked streetside are not complementary to the city.

Toomey told The Daily Republic he hopes Mitchell residents will look at what was proposed and voted on in June.

"What I do know is that 'next time' everyone needs to know and fully understand exactly what is being proposed," Toomey said. "There was too much misinformation circulating that was not an accurate representation of what the new ordinance would be."

The plan also included a waiver for commercial permits, which would allow the parking of prohibited implements streetside if they were located at job sites.

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As it stands, Mitchell City Code bars drivers from parking in nine different locations. Those areas include parking within an intersection, on a crosswalk, outside the first line of cars parked next to curb lines, within 25 feet of the intersection of curb lines, within 15 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station, within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, in front of a private driveway, on a sidewalk or boulevard, alongside any street excavation when stopping would obstruct traffic or in any area designated as a "no parking" zone.

The city also restricts parking in eight other places, including private property, at a bus or taxi stand, when blocking a street or alley, when backed onto a curb, when parking a vehicle for sale, when stopped without first setting the brakes or in municipal parking lots.

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