Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No parking on Opportunity Way

OK ... so At-large City Councillor Tom Jones gave an impassioned speech at Monday's City Council meeting, explaining how it was, in effect, the ZBA's granting of numerous variances to Home Made Brand Foods that created the parking mess on Opportunity Way.

The city kept allowing HMBF to expand - right out of parking for the company's own trucks.

But now (I assume) it's HMBF that has nowhere to park its trucks because the City Council voted to ban parking on the side of the road.

I get that the trucks were causing problems for other businesses. I get that the road was being destroyed (I mean, I accept that it is).

What I don't get is why a city that keeps crying and moaning about not enough businesses coming into the industrial park is simultaneously sending the messages of "yes, expand, we'll accommodate your trucks on the roadway" and "stop expanding, dammit."

So, what the City Council is saying is that the Zoning Board of Appeals is not doing its job?

Well ... that was the body that granted the variance for the wind turbine ... and allowed a huge house to be built on an undersized lot at the end of Old Point Road, out here by me ... but what the ...?

And what about when I go over to Opportunity Works, on Opportunity Way, for one of its outdoor events? I often have to park on the side of the road because the parking lot is being used for activities and tents and such.


Bubba said...

"...and allowed a huge house to be built on an undersized lot at the end of Old Point Road"

Allowed ? They generally have to comply with the law - as it is - not as people wish that it was.

Gillian Swart said...

Isn't granting a variance from the law "allowing?" The mayor was out here, at my neighbor's place, and even he said, "How did that get built out here?"

Bubba said...

I can't keep them all in my head, but wasn't there some riparian rights issue related to that lot ? I suppose they could have denied the variance, but there's no point if you're likely to lose in court.
I don't like the huge homes either, but I don't want to city wasting tax dollars on lawyers.

Dan Sweeney said...

Why would one 'assume' that a contradictory statement is being sent to the HMBF or the business community as a whole? The company requested the expansion projects and now dismiss the requirements of needed parking for their operations? I think not! The expansion request was partially in response to the need for so many trailers being stored in their yard (and on city access roads). The requirement for storage of their trailers could easily be met with the purchase of another property for staging (similar to the Sewer Department request?) or the leasing of a transfer yard to accommodate their growing business needs. Why should the neighboring businesses and the taxpayers pay for their use and destruction of our access and roads? No such 'message' is being sent with the allowance to build-out ones property, but the need to meet requirements for operating their business may require them to rethink their business needs and investments. They can and are able to reinvest in more unused local industrial property as they grow.....not a big deal.

This is not to be assumed that the Zoning Board has been cognizant or correct in their efforts in applying or bending the rules and setting precedents to avoid making real hard decisions for some notable and elite of our little band of thieves. Some real mind teasers have been allowed in recent years and the challenges and requests are just getting worse as to who can achieve the most disservice to the taxpayers by granting the most outrageous requests by the 'entitled' and needy of our community. All because of the compliancy and laziness of the taxpayers in holding our elected and appointed officials to task. 'How'd they do that' is not a proper response from an elected 'official' is it? Or a self proclaimed 'manager'!

Gillian Swart said...

Dan, I think ZBA should have asked them about parking issues - and demanded a written plan - before granting the variance(s). That way, maybe the company would have had more incentive to do what you suggest here.

Dan Sweeney said...

They (all business) have incentive with the current laws on the books (prior to the enacting of new parking rules) that cover the parking issue. Zoning agreements in the guise of variances do not supersede laws and ordinances that are pretty much enforceable sans politics.

Many companies can prove that the required parking recommendations are not suitable for their present situations and therefore overbuilding on their property can be justified. When damage to city property, as is the case in the side road parking observed at this location and the restriction of traffic flow from a dead end street, all constitute the need for citations and reimbursement from the owners of the registered vehicles (all of which are not owned by HMBF, but are delivery trucks awaiting unloading (sometimes for days ) or loading of product). We just need enforcement, not more new laws and ordinances that will affect other business and patrons that are more responsible to the public on a more regular base. The poor trucker that stops to ask directions will be the goat of this order and the causing parties will never anti up. Zoning does not control transient commerce, or restrict the access of commercial deliveries. This type of knee jerk reaction will hurt other business flow and retail near the location area result. Other communities provide an area for such deliveries to stage heir deliveries on a longer term calendar, at a cost to the business community. Such an area can relieve even downtown deliveries that cause traffic flow issues and cause damage to our roads in refurbished areas. a deliver warehouse with holding units charged to the business community would be a better solution to such troublesome issues than adopting a new law that will cost in signage, labor and never be fully enforced anyway.

Getting the Chamber or the Business Community on board and willing to address the issues of the half empty industrial park has been reminiscent of the same logic the NRA issue has seen.
If the residents do not share the largest burden, it is not enjoined or enacted. The incentive is $ (ours or the business investment in operations). Not new unenforcable and restrictive rules.How many more cops will be needed to police this area and issue? Manhours that are paid for by the taxes we all pay. 24/7 business operations that will not see the point of not parking there and truckers that need to make a living paying fines that are deductable as fees of doing business and fines that will not find their way into the general fund of the city.