Nearly a dozen residents of Old Forge Drive in Bath appeared before the Borough of Bath Council on Monday, December 4 to complain of parking tickets they have received from the Colonial Regional Police Department.
These residents were ticketed for parking in front of their own driveways. They argued that the street does not allow for adequate parking.
“There are households that are two car households [and] there is not enough parking,” said Simone McDonald, resident of Old Forge Drive. “We cannot even get a one-car family straight.”
Council stressed that the regulations being enforced are part of the current code written by the CRPD and not the new ordinance for permitted parking on Old Forge Drive, which is still being drafted.
Residents, however, wanted an answer as to why the CRPD chose to enforce a code it had not previously and consistently been enforcing. For some residents who have called Old Forge Drive home for over decade, this has been their first parking ticket.
“This is all coming out of the blue,” said McDonald.
Mayor Fiorella Mirabito personally called CRPD Chief Roy Seiple, who later appeared at the meeting to address residents’ concerns and questions. Seiple explained that a citizen complaint was forwarded by the borough to the police department about an individual parking in front of a driveway that was not theirs. Police were asked to investigate the issue and enforce parking regulations.
Until now, Seiple said, “we [police] were doing our job with discretion.”
“Unless we got a complaint,” he continued, “we did not act on it,” he said, understanding that parking is difficult for residents of the street.
“Old Forge Drive has always been an issue,” said Fire Chief Emilio DeNisi. “It is sad…but [it is] something you as a community need to communicate with each other.” He said it is important that residents work together to get through parking issues.
Chief Seiple asked that all parking complaints be forwarded to him by residents directly. Borough council agreed and asked that it be kept out of parking complaints.
“Unless it [parking] poses a hazard or unless someone calls,” residents of Old Forge Drive will not be ticketed for parking in front of their driveways. Police will continue using discretion.
The new parking ordinance for Old Forge Drive is still being drafted. Borough Council will hold a workshop meeting on January 10 at 6 p.m. Residents are welcomed to discuss parking issues.
Other news in Bath:
- Denise Carrigan was awarded that HARB Restoration Award by Councilwoman Carol Bear-Heckman. Carrigan moved to Bath from Bethlehem and purchased a 19th century home on South Chestnut Street. She and her family restored the home in only two months.
- Public works will be continuing to pick up leaves until the season’s first snow falls.
- Council approved a resolution to adopt the 2018 budget. There will be no tax increase.
- Council approved a mixed-use ordinance for the borough’s parking overlay district, which includes Main and Chestnut streets. This mixed-use ordinance is supported by several outside groups, including the LVPC and the Greater Area Bath Chamber of Commerce, who believe it will “revitalize Bath’s downtown” by making it easier for low-use businesses to come into the borough.
“[It] is a great idea,” said Councilwoman Phyllis Andrews. “[It] will create more business and more opportunity.”
Not all councilmembers were in agreement with the ordinance, however. Council President Mark Saginario wanted to wait for the LVPC’s completed traffic study and economic impact analysis. Councilman Michael Reph worried about the permanence of the move.
Ultimately, council adopted the ordinance, with a limit of 10 applications per year.