Tonawanda News

The City

June 4, 2014

Council rejects parking proposal

Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda city council defeated a resolution Tuesday night that would have allowed residents to park on city streets overnight between April and November.

The measure, which was put on the agenda after residents complained about receiving tickets overnight, was voted down 3-2. Council President Carleton Zeisz, Councilman Charles Gilbert and Councilman Jay Hall voted against the resolution, while Councilwomen Jackie Smilinich and Jenna Koch voted for the change.

The current law specifies that from Nov. 1 to March 31, residents may not park their cars on city streets between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. During the winter months, parking is prohibited between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The body defeated the measure after Police Chief William Strassburg voiced his objection to the resolution during the council’s work session. 

“From a police perspective, it’s not the end all and be all, but it’s a tool we have,” he said, noting that records from overnight violations often aid in burglary and larceny investigations. “A lot of things come out of illegally parked cars ... if something looks suspicious,(officers) can run it, and it leads to stolen vehicles and all sorts of other things.”

Strassburg also predicted a change could lead to more neighbor disputes, and assured the council that his department has always granted permission to those who call and ask to park their cars on city streets overnight in special circumstances.

“People have family in town, who have a car that’s broken down or their driveway is being redone — we always OK it,” he said.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Joe Warthling also said he was concerned about his workers’ ability to complete street sweeping if a car is parked on the street for a long amount of time.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• The council also authorized Mayor Rick Davis to file an application for state funding to create an economic development office to support business growth in the city.

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