PORTERDALE, Ga. - If you pay enough attention as you drive through Porterdale, you’ll notice a lot of the homes do not have traditional driveways. The city council discussed the lack of residential parking at its Aug 24 work session.
Mayor Arline Chapman offered one reason.
“Nobody anticipated anybody owning a car when they set the town up,” she said.
City Manager Bob Thomson put it this way.
“When the mill was laid out,” he said. “The workers did not have cars.”
Chapman told members she’s heard complaints about people parking in their front yards.
“People are parking their cars on their front lawns. There’s a gentleman who bought a house and he’s fixed it up and he wants to know why all of those cars are parking on people’s front lawns,” she said.
The city’s current parking ordinance mandates that in residential areas, “Parking must be on a back alley where said alley abuts the residential property unless otherwise posted.”
It also states, “There shall be no parking of motor vehicles in the front yard of any parcel unless the motor vehicle is parked in a parking area prepared for such use with material approved by the city manager.”
Police Chief Jason Cripps told members that he has identified over 60 properties with no back alley access, leaving residents to drive across the sidewalk to park on the front part of their property.
“Some of them don’t have access,” he said, “that’s where we have to have some exemptions.”
Chapman said the ordinance needs to be rewritten.
“I think the ordinance has to be completely rewritten,” she said. “It needs to take a fresh look, with a new eye, and figure out some way these people can park on their property.
“We’ve got to find a way to make that work.”
One suggestion was to build a parking pad on a piece of city owned property.
Thomson said there will not be an easy solution to the problem.
“We have a twenty-first-century community with cars and motorcycles in a late 19th, early twentieth-century mill town,” he said.
Thomson said the council will take up the parking issue again at its Sept. 12 work session. He said public input is welcome.