On Monday night, the issue of "snow parking" was discussed by members of the borough council.
At issue here is the current ordinance which bans parking on all streets from 2-6 a.m. Dec. 1 through March 1.
Councilman Bob Jennings brought up the topic at the meeting saying he thinks there needs to be some changes made.
One of the reasons, he said, is there are more and more people who live in multi-family housing units which used to be single family homes.
Jennings is right.
The parking situation has gotten out of control. Too many people have too few places to park.
And the borough council has to take some of the responsibility.
Not this particular council, but the council in general.
The reason is it was the council over the years which has allowed many houses to be converted into multi-family units. But what they didn't require was adequate parking. There are even provisions which refer to adequate off-street parking.
That would be fine and dandy except for the fact there can't be off-street parking for three months out of the year.
That single point has gotten lost in the big discussion about parking in general.
It's the council which should have required landlords to provide the necessary parking or not let them convert the buildings. Instead, it was business as usual and now parking has turned into a wintertime nightmare for many people.
Page 2 of 3 - Another issue is the council should have been addressing this issue earlier in the year. Several months ago a member of the public asked the council to look into the matter but it never happened.
Now, at the 11th hour, they are going to take up the issue.
We give them credit for taking up the issue. It needs addressed.
For some people, this seems like a small issue. But for others, it's a major problem.
Last year, when winter was nearly absent, the Honesdale Borough Police Department wrote around 200 tickets for snow parking violations. At $25 each, that's $5,000 in revenue. That might not be a lot, but in tight budgets, it is a good chunk.
Could revenue be the motivation for not at least considering a change to the ordinance?
We give a lot of credit to Jennings, council president F.J. Monaghan, councilman Scott Smith and councilman Jim Brennan for addressing the issue Monday night. They seemed genuinely sincere in wanting the matter discussed and possibly making some changes.
This is a serious issue which impacts a lot of people in the borough — especially renters.
And that leads to another major point.
Sometimes, people who are renters are put on the back burner by others. Some will even say that renters don't pay taxes so their voices don't matter.
Nothing is further from the truth.
When a person pays rent, that person is paying property taxes. The landlord certainly isn't just paying those taxes out of the goodness of his or her heart. The cost of rent is reflected directly by the property tax rate.
Page 3 of 3 - Renters are also productive members of society who have jobs, cars, buy groceries and help support the local economy.
It is the landlords and council which allowed this parking problem to expand because of the multi-family developments.
That's not a knock on the current council because they inherited this issue. However, it is the current council which must deal with that inheritance and that's not an easy task.
We applaud the council for tackling this issue and would encourage the ad-hoc committee to call a meeting quickly and let the public know it is happening.
There are solutions to this problem and those solutions need to be discussed to come up with reasonable answers.