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Turlock residents try for street parking permit
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The residents of Garden Lane, Garden Court and Pedras Road want the city to issue parking permits because of a lack of available street parking caused by an overflow from the nearby apartment complex.

In larger cities parking spots are considered a valuable commodity, but parking is not usually an issue in Turlock, except perhaps for the residents near Donnelly Park.

Local residents are advocating for a Parking Permit Residential Zone in their neighborhood after an increase in non-resident parking on the streets of Garden Lane, Garden Court, and portions of Pedras Road has resulted in a neighborhood dispute.

Precipitated by the submission of a petition to the city containing more than two-thirds of the neighbors’ signatures that protests the parking of non-residents on Garden Lane and Garden Court, the City performed a parking study to evaluate the claims.

 The residents voiced concerns that the nearby residents of Parkside Apartments were responsible for not only taking roadside parking spots but also causing indirect negative impacts such as littering, loud noise, indecent exposure, impeding street cleaning, and parking for longer than the legal limit of 72 hours. 

“They move our garbage cans so that they can park and we don’t get our services,” said Garden Lane resident Carrie Dompe at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Upon verification of the petition the City conducted a parking survey in July to examine the extent of the impact and found the results inconclusive since the study did not take place during the school year and college students reside in Parkside Apartments. However, according to Parkside Apartments representative Lisa Ludwig the students are not the problem. Instead, she attributes the increase in parking issues to the fact that the complex is at full capacity for the first time in many years. With only 24 spaces for 24 two and three bedroom apartments, the overflow street parking is not only expected but legal.

“We can send letters to the residents but right now it’s public parking,” said Ludwig.

 This is the first permit system proposed in the past 14 years but if it were to pass the Turlock Police Department would be in charge of enforcing the permit zone. While Police Chief Robert Jackson stated that it would require officers to distribute violators parking tickets in an amount around $30, he said it would not serve as a significant drain on police resources.

“What we usually see with things like this is that compliance ceases to be a big issue once we’ve done some educating,” said Jackson. 

However, the council abstained from voting on the issue upon realization that the implementation of a parking permit in the vicinity of Garden Lane and Garden Court could lead to more issues “fraught with all kinds of unintended consequences” according to Councilmember Bill DeHart.

“It seems to me this is an opportunity for similar sort of challenges in the future, and so while I’d like to seek some sort of redress or accommodation, it appears to me that what we decide here tonight, if we do, is going to have a  far reaching impact to our community,” said DeHart.

In turn, at the behest of Mayor John Lazar, the two parties will be meeting in the next 60 days in order to reach a resolution. While the City Attorney Phaedra Norton offered to find a mediator for the two parties, if a compromise is not reached within the allotted time the item will return before the council as a resolution.