Council at odds over parking area

CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council has failed to approve the first reading of an ordinance to establish no parking on Second Avenue between 11th Place and Washington Boulevard.

The council on Tuesday voted 2-2 on a first reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 3-3-29 by adding subsection 40 to the Camanche Code of Ordinances, which would establish no parking on Second Avenue between 11th Place and Washington Boulevard. Council members Tammy Campie and Amber Metzger voted in favor of approving first reading. Brent Brightman and Paul Varner voted against approving the first reading. Councilman Danny Weller abstained from voting. City Attorney John Frey said the first reading of the ordinance may be brought up at a future meeting.

Brightman cited three major concerns with parking on either side of Second Avenue between 11th Place and Washington Boulevard, which is along the long side of Triangle Park. Brightman said there were safety issues, legitimate concern from the Parks and Recreation Board and that a business owner wanted to use the area for parking.

Brightman suggested the city consider ripping up half of Second Avenue down to 11th Place, grass some of that area and put additional parking spots on the south end of Second Avenue down by 11th Place. He also suggested speaking with Poor House Tap about putting a crosswalk across the intersection and running a sidewalk up to the bar.

“Those are the things I want us to keep an open mind in instead of just throwing this out the window, because there is a solution,” Brightman said.

Metzger said the council during the goal-setting session discussed making the area more into a park, including opening up the trail. She added she sees the potential ordinance amendment as one of what would be about 15 steps.

“My personal opinion is I don’t see how this is going to inhibit us going forward with that because it was in our goal settings to move forward and to develop that area,” Metzger said. “More parking was discussed. That trail was discussed. So the only thing I think that you brought up tonight that we haven’t discussed is that crosswalk area, the sidewalks and those things we can get with the engineer and adjacent property owner.”

Weller, who owns Poor House Tap, presented the council with another proposal. He said the business is willing to buy the land and give the city an easement in exchange for use of the right of way. He said this would turn the investment and put it back on the tax rolls.

Camanche City Administrator Andrew Kida last month said Poor House Tap used Triangle Park as overflow parking before it was Triangle Park, when the land was privately owned. The city later purchased the land and turned it into a park. The park board decided about a year and a half ago that it didn’t want to allow parking on the grass, and the board put up signs reflecting that decision.

The city was asked by Poor Tap House owner Danny Weller, who is now a city councilman, if the city could allow parking for special events. The city park board was receptive to the request as long as Poor House let Kida know in advance and Kida found no issues with the request. Most of the land used for overflow parking for special events is in the public right of way and not part of Triangle Park.

The council will consider Weller’s proposal at a future council meeting.