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Edgewood Hopes to Address Vehicles in Driveways Blocking Sidewalks

Edgewood city council discussed complaints from residents about sidewalks being blocked by vehicles.

One complaint involved a home where at least one resident has health problems, and when both cars at that residence are parked in its driveway, the bumper or more of a car extends over the sidewalk.

City Administrator Brian Dehner said that this issue is a pet peeve of his, and that the city is working with this resident and has issued warnings in the past. The residence's driveway is not long enough for both vehicles.

When police decided that a ticket needed to be issued, Dehner said that one of the residents at the home pointed out around seven other residences that had vehicles technically blocking the sidewalk but no ticket was issued to them.

The city decided against that ticket and put a moratorium on any such tickets until council works out language in the ordinance.

Councilman Rob Thelen asked how many complaints had been received on this particular residence but Dehner did not know. Thelen followed up, wondering whether the issue could be a personal one.

Dehner said that clear language in the ordinance was needed because the police need guidance.

City Attorney Frank Wichmann said that he could create an ordinance however council would like. If the city is not enforcing the ordinance, it should be deleted, he said.

To make the issue a criminal offense, a fine and court costs could be incurred. Wichmann also wanted to know about possible exceptions.

Dehner said that there is a residence on Dudley Road that has multiple cars that block the sidewalk forcing students to walk in the street when walking to and from school. Those residents said, according to Dehner, that the city took away their on-street parking, so the sidewalk must be blocked by their cars.

Councilman Joe Messmer asked whether it could be possible for the resident with health problems to use their garage, but there is no law that says someone who owns a garage must use it.

Councilwoman Kim Wolking said that she knows this particular family and believes that issuing a ticket is harsh because they are trying to conform but since sidewalks were put in, it is challenging.

Council members requested sample ordinances from other cities and Dehner said that he would like to have the language cleaned up and ready for a vote in February.

In other business, the city is set to surplus three police vehicles which would have been donated, possibly to smaller communities in need of them, but Councilman Jeff Schreiver asked that they be sold, noting that he believed their value to be around $13,000, and arguing that the city approved a franchise tax last year and that it would send the wrong message to residents to tax them more for roads and then to give away vehicles.

Dehner said he would specify that the vehicles be sold.

January 7 was declared Lois Klaine Day in the city. She retired from St. Elizabeth Healthcare after forty-three years.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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