Parking signs upset cul-de-sac residents

By Donald R. Roth Jr.

The DeKalb City Council heard from angry residents Monday concerning new parking regulations in three DeKalb subdivision cul-de-sacs.

At issue were the “no parking” signs in the cul-de-sacs located in DeKalb’s Heritage Hill, Heritage Ridge, and Pardridge subdivisions.

The parking ordinances, which were approved at the Nov. 12, 1991 city council meeting, are coming under heavy fire from residents who say their lives are being disrupted.

“I have received numerous calls from residents who are at issue with the parking regulations. I sure would not pay $200,000 for a house where guests were required to park a half mile away,” 4th Ward Alderman Rita Tewksbury said.

After receiving letters from several residents, the city council decided to put bags over the “no parking” signs until the issue had been resolved through proper channels.

Current city regulations require cul-de-sacs to have a diameter of at least 115 feet. The cul-de-sacs in this case have a diameter of 100 feet or less.

According to the subdivision’s developer, the parking regulations came as a complete surprise. “Originally we brought the city council seven plans for cul-de-sacs, narrowed it down to three, and let the city council make the final choice,” Heritage developer Al Hill said.

“You can review the minutes of that (city council) meeting and they will bear the fact we were told residents had been given permission to park,” he said.

In response to the concerns of the residents affected by the new parking rules, the city of DeKalb sent a fire truck and a snowplow through the area to simulate delivery when residents’ vehicles are allowed to park in the cul-de-sacs.

“Our main concern is being able to get to a fire with first and second alarm equipment,” DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff Long said. “We are also concerned with being able to get out of the cul-de-sacs.”

Through the use of these simulations, the city council deduced that the 100 diameter cul-de-sacs could not meet safety regulations.

They found that any vehicles parking in the cul-de-sacs could cause problems for emergency vehicles, snow trucks and other large service trucks trying to come or go.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have people park a half block away to sustain safety in the cul-de-sacs,” 6th Ward Alderman Jamie Pennington said.

After the debate was over, there were several solutions offered to remedy the problem. Third Ward Alderman Gary Wiggins said the streets should be made into snow routes to allow access for snow removal.

“I visited these cul-de-sacs. There are eight no parking signs for two houses. I think these cul-de-sacs can be self- governing,” 5th Ward Alderman Bessie Chronopoulos said.

Alderman Michael Welsh said a long-term solution should be the council’s goal, not a temporary allowance.

“I don’t want this problem coming up again,” Welsh said.

To begin the process of reforming the no parking zones, the city council passed a consideration to review the current ordinance at next month’s meeting.