Mt. Lebanon Commission has arrived at a timetable for enactment and implementation of an ordinance revision addressing on-street overnight parking.
During their discussion session conducted Tuesday via Zoom, commissioners agreed to introduce the revision at their March 9 regular meeting and conduct a public hearing March 23. A vote on the ordinance then could be taken as early as April 13.
Commissioners also decided on Oct. 1 for the start of a grace period prior to enforcement of a key provision of the ordinance beginning Jan. 1.
At that point, residents would have a maximum of 20 nights annually per vehicle license plate for requesting exceptions to the long-standing prohibition of parking on public streets between 2 and 6 a.m.
The new limit is intended to put an end to abuses of the current request system, through which some residents have asked for exceptions hundreds of times a year. Most local motorists, though, would seem to be able to comply with what is proposed, according to assistant municipal manager Ian McMeans.
“We did an in-depth data analysis of the last two years of overnight parking requests, and 93% of the plates that requested overnight parking requested fewer than 20 times per year,” he said.
Craig Grella, who has been working on addressing the overnight parking issue since he joined the commission in 2018, said a process would be in place to address certain needs.
“Over the past two years, we’ve heard from a lot of residents who do have parking issues, legitimate parking issues,” he said. “And we wanted to be flexible enough with this amendment to the ordinance to account for that and to give people a process through which they can go to park, where currently they don’t have parking.”
The municipality will monitor overnight requests through a database management system that includes a feature to notify residents of where they stand with regard to reaching the limit. Police Chief Aaron Lauth recommended the count be launched at the start of the grace period.
“Ultimately, if they reach that 20-day threshold and now they’re at 21 and 22 and 23, we wouldn’t ticket them for that until Jan. 1,” he said. “It would at least give them a familiarity with the system and how it works.”
He gave a reminder that police have been monitoring the situation all along.
“If somebody fails to request on-street overnight parking through the online system, and they are parked on the street, we are still going to issue them a ticket, like we currently do,” he said.
With regard to the grace period, Commissioner Leann Foster emphasized the aspect of preparation.
“I would like to give residents some time if they need to find alternatives, if they need to put in a parking pad,” she said about those who now rely on street parking. “If there’s something that needs to be done, they can get that done.”
Commissioners also agreed residents who live one-tenth of a mile or more from available overnight public parking, such as a lot or garage, would be able to apply for on-street permits at a cost of $150 for six months, or $300 annually.