Dillon Town Council addresses resident complaints about rotating parking lot system
In response to continued complaints about the town of Dillon’s confusing parking rules, the town council considered Tuesday night reworking a section of the municipal code.
The most confusing aspect of Dillon’s parking restrictions, according to complaints from residents and visitors, is its rotating lot system.
Currently, Dillon has five parking lots — designated as “Blue” (2) and “Green” (3) — located in the town core where drivers are permitted to leave their cars overnight. But because town public works employees require access to the lots to conduct maintenance, repairs and to sweep, overnight parking rotates between blue and green lots on a daily basis.
Drivers who leave their cars in the wrong lot overnight are likely to find tickets on their windshield during the summer months. Cars left in the wrong lot during the winter are typically towed for a fee of $125.
The issue was brought to the attention of the council Tuesday during an afternoon work session by Councilman Kevin Burns. Despite a hesitation to rework the town’s parking code after having done so just a few years ago, Burns cited an influx of complaints from residents about a perceived policy of over ticketing or towing violators as his reason for adding the topic to the agenda.
“I would prefer to beef up the education component, issue warnings before ticketing or towing and try to create a culture to encourage people not to drive into town at all,” Burns said. “I think there are some out of the box things we can do (before we rewrite the code again), such as having people walk in, bike in or take the free bus service into town. If you don’t drive in, you can’t park in the wrong lot.”
Instead of a rotating lot system, residents have voiced a preference for an all open parking lot system, at least during the summer months, Burns said.
But interim Dillon Police Chief Brian Brady said those who generally push for such changes also are the same people who don’t follow the law anyway.
“You’re going to have one-percenters who aren’t going to follow the law no matter how you change it,” Brady said. “You have to go through a period of adjustment with any change and right now we’re getting less complaints than we have ever had.”
“People who are interested in an all summer open lot program are not people I am particularly interested in catering to,” Burns said.
Another thorn in the side of local drivers is the fact that Dillon’s parking restrictions are different in the summer than they are in the winter. But public works director Scott O’Brien said winter parking restrictions were written differently because of the public safety issues posed by high rates of snow fall.
Generally speaking, cars parked in the wrong overnight lots and on major town right of ways — where parking is prohibited from 2 to 6 a.m. — are towed so they can be plowed.
“Rules in town are confusing because they change from winter to summer, but it’s the best system for residents, visitors and businesses, and its generally consistent with our neighbors in Summit County,” O’Brien said. “Imagine if we had to plow around every car that was parked overnight. It not only creates a lot more work us, but it creates a lot of safety hazards.”
After a lengthy discussion, the council agreed it was too early to try to rewrite the code again, but decided to direct city staff to brainstorm ideas to improve parking signage in town, such as by possibly making them larger and easier to understand.
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