Sweet-A-Licious owner Michelle Jack addresses a downtown parking issue at Thursday's Consolidated Public Works Board meeting.

Violations of two-hour parking policy still presenting a problem for some downtown business owners

BUCKHANNON – A business owner on Main Street said there have been multiple cars parked in the two-hour parking zones for up to 10 hours.

Michelle Jack, the owner of Sweet-A-Licious on Main Street attended the Thursday, Feb. 27 Consolidated Public Works Board meeting to discuss the enforcement of the free two-hour parking policy on Main Street.

“I have people on a regular basis, and I have video and I have pictures, that park their cars in front of my shop for six, eight and 10 hours a day and don’t move their cars, and this is very detrimental to my business,” Jack said. “I understand sometimes the weather’s not nice, and it’s hard to get out there, but I just don’t understand the ordinance, and I don’t know what to do.”

She said she has discussed the issue with Mayor David McCauley.

“I’ve personally talked to the mayor about it, and he tells me there’s other parking, but for a year- and-a-half the street beside me was closed and two people couldn’t park at the post office and walk up because that sidewalk was closed, and it’s just a never-ending battle,” Jack said. “I have people constantly tell me all the time, ‘We don’t come to your shop because we have no parking.’”

Board member CJ Rylands asked Jack if it’s not the ordinance she has an issue with, but the enforcement.

Jack said yes.

“I’m not trying to be a difficult business owner, but when it financially impacts your livelihood, and I’m not asking for a new law to be created, I’m just asking for enforcement of the law that’s on the books,” she replied.

City officials told Jack the parking enforcement officer had been off for some time, but she is back now, so hopefully there will be more enforcement.

“I’ve been told that for two years that there’s been, ‘we well this person’s been off sick,’ ‘this person got another job and we can only dedicate a half-time person to this,’ and it’s been going on for two years,” Jack said.

Rylands said he understood her frustration because it has happened to him as well.

“It sounds easy, but it is a challenge to effectively, uniformly enforce our rules, but if we don’t start enforcing it, I mean, I have people pull up in front of my restaurant and leave their car there from 3 p.m. to midnight,” Rylands said.

City recorder Randy Sanders asked if she ever took her video evidence to the police.

“I actually have talked to the police, and the police said that there is an ordinance and then I came to City Hall and then the police went to the people on my block and said that I complained about people parking out there,” Jack said. “That’s not what I anticipated would happen.”

Sanders said there wasn’t any immediate action the board could take but said city officials would Police Chief Matt Gregory to attend their next meeting in March; he invited Jack to attend and see if they can discuss the issue further.

The CPWB’s March meeting is slated for 4 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in council chambers.

Article 2 of the City of Buckhannon’s Ordinance 422 describes the two-hour parking policy, penalties for violating it and other municipal parking guidelines.

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