Angled parking spurs debate

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, April 18, 2019
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Photo by Eleanor Guerrero
Connie Sue Richardson spoke against the proposed prohibition of angled parking at Red Lodge City Council last week.

A heated debate over angled parking took center stage at the Red Lodge City Council meeting last week.

During the first reading of Ordinance #923 to amend angled parking in the town council member Dave Westwood suggested prior to public comment the council “either permit angled parking in a non-arbitrary basis or we begin enforcing only parallel parking throughout the city.” 

Connie Sue Richardson, owner of Connie Sue's Curly Q's across from the Post Office, explained that in 2011, she got permission for angled parking for her beauty parlor. In 2013, she said it was taken away. She filed all the paperwork and paid $100 and said she has had the permission for angled parking for six years. 

Richardson believes the present problem is in retaliation because her daughter sued the city. 

Richardson said, “There was no reasonable excuse to take it away. I’ve done my research, I’ve done my homework.”

Irene Belvin, of Farmers Insurance Agency and owner of Irene Belvin Agency on the corner of 7th St and Broadway 2013, said she also requested exception for angled parking paperwork with a $100 payment. On March 27, 2013, it was approved unanimously by the City Council. Belvin said her street was not in the engineer’s report. 

Belvin said, “I encourage the council to vote in favor and do the right thing...If this is not decided in my favor, I will bring full lawsuit against the city.”

Westwood moved to amend by substitution with another resolution.

Mayor Bill Larson said, “As you know you can’t amend a resolution you just approved.”

Tension ensued again between the City Attorney Rebecca Narmore and various members of the Council over this issue. 

Westwood withdrew the resolution and made a second motion to strike out the ninth and final “whereas” paragraph of the resolution since it does “not add to value of the ordinance nor it is necessary to disparage previous councils.”

Glory Mahan commented, “We have a lot of questions about this.”

Chief Jason Wells said, “I would just ask you put your feet in the shoes of the officer that has to patrol this angled parking. You want a certain length. The officer would have to get out and measure. You want lines-it’s a good idea but it’s snow covered 8 months of the year. I would urge you make the right decision and put a lot of thought into it instead of a hasty decision I urge that you make the right decision.”

Westwood said, “I move that before additional discussion and an additional reading that we exercise the privilege granted to council to permit us to use outside council on a contract basis as to form and sufficiency. I move to allocate the money from the general fund.” 

The Council approved. 

Other Business:

*Two new officers, Tyler Hoppe and Dillon Dosson will be finishing their training and will be soon added to complete full staff. “We’re really looking forward to getting them on board,” said Chief Wells.

*Jeff DiBenedetto and Sandy Conlee were reappointed to the Planning Board. 

*Paul Hart was appointed to the Carbon County Historic *Preservation Board.

Resolution #3512 for the DeAnnexation of Property was approved as was #3515, Adoption of Personnel Policy. 

The City authorized the update of the 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) by Great West Engineering. 

*A first reading was given to Ordinance 911 Camping Fines on request of Chief Wells to remove any jail time out of ordinances. 

*First reading of Ordinance #883-lowers speed limit to 25 mph on White Avenue of Airport Road. “I think this is an excellent idea to change it back to 25 mph to what it used to be,” said Mahan. 

*Resolution #3514-Repeal Resolution #3364 North Word Ave. parking during snow removal.  Approved. The City has some existing codes and has since adopted State ordinances which give the authority to the Public Works Director to raise signs if needed and there is an appeal process. Signs are already in place.

Chief Wells said, “It is our goal to get compliance it is not to fine people. By repealing this ordinance takes the ability to write a $25 citation that is minimal and makes us have to write a citation for $140. That’s a large difference in fines. I would prefer to write a smaller citation. It takes a tool out of my tool box. Does penalize a person who parks there at a greater fine.” Mayor Larson said they will look into the street situation there and make recommendations. 

*Westwood moved to place a resolution or ordinance as appropriate on the May 7 agenda to modify the RL City Rules of Procedure Part 10 Sec 2 to change the wording to modify the role of city attorney from “to approve as to form and legal sufficiency” to “advise as to form and legal sufficiency.”

Westwood continued, “As I read the rules and charter it was never the intent to give the city attorney a defacto veto vote and I believe we added it inadvertently through our council procedures. She should be able to advise, I think that’s her job.” 

Mayor said it will be discussed at the May meeting.