By Meladi Brewer
VERSAILLES — Residence of South Olive Street in Versailles expressed their concern about the newly limited parking the village has mandated.
“No matter what we do, somebody’s not going to be happy about it,” Busse said.
The Versailles Village Council had previously passed legislation limiting parking on the west side of South Olive Street in town. Signs had been posted shortly after, and concerned residents on South Olive attended the Wednesday meeting to express different safety concerns the council may not have considered.
Discussions were had between Scott Ward and the council to better understand the decisions that were made. Ward made it clear he mainly wanted to raise awareness about his concerns and try to better understand the council’s justifications about their decision. He wanted to know how and why they decided to limit parking on the side of the street they chose.
“I’m going to start off about safety on that street, and we were blindsided, I guess, when the signs went up that said no parking on the east side of the street,” Ward said.
He referenced the original letter the village had sent out saying it said “propose and review the recommendation for the street and safety committee concerning prohibiting parking on the west side of South Olive Street,” and Ward spoke on behalf of the residence saying it was interpreted to be the opposite side of his house, so they thought it didn’t pertain to them due to the specifics.
With the way the letter was written, he did not feel the need to pay the parking issue any mind during the process because he was unaware the side of the street could change, and he apologized for misinterpreting and not coming forth sooner.
“Back to the safety. You know there are four houses including mine without access to side streets,” Ward said. “All the houses on the west side either have a front or side street they can park onto where us four on the other side have nothing except across the street.
He expressed concerns about having to cross the street in order to get to his house for himself, his family, and the children his wife babysits during the day. He said to have the children cross the street with the increased traffic coming around the curve, it is concerning because no one takes it at the designated speed a majority of the time.
“One of the things we looked at was you all had parking also. You all have off street parking. You personally have two driveways,” Gigandet said. “It was one thing we looked at was the off-street parking.”
Ward advised his back driveway is not used for parking during warmer weather, so his kids and the babysitting children can utilize a safer environment for riding bikes and playing. To ensure further safety, he said he would park his van in front of his driveway, so the children had a barrier between them and the road if they got too close. With the parking change, he is no longer able to block his drive way, and Ward ensured the council he would not want to test the police by only getting his vehicle halfway into the driveway.
“I just don’t think that the safety was thought about the right way,” Ward said.
“So just talking about the communication, and I fully get what you are saying,” Busse said “midstream a decision was made to go to the other side, but this letter did not advise there was a recommendation to prohibit parking to one side of the street. It was to forward the discussion to the council.”
He said he was not trying to work semantics or “split hairs on it”, but they did decide to hold a public discussion and sent out the letters. It was not required they do that, and “in hindsight he wishes the letter would have just read prohibiting parking on Olive Street instead.
“At that time, most of the discussion was just about how we need to prohibit parking on one side of the street or the other, and the west side just seemed to make the most sense,” Busse said.
Ward raised awareness about the bus stop. The kids did not have to cross the street in order to get into cars before, and now they do. He said he is looking out for the kids because “we know how they are. They don’t listen.”
There were reasons to limit parking on both sides of the street, and it depended on what the focus was. One of the main focuses was the sight distance coming around the corner of the street. It was advised that by limiting parking on Ward’s side of the street, it enabled an easier sight line to ensure traffic safety.
Council member Kent Paulus commended Ward for thinking about the children and their safety. He said he appreciated Ward’s concern about that situation because he would be the same way, but “he does not know if they can take that into consideration as much as what is the property on the street.”
“How does it lay out on the street because inevitably, you could move in a year, and then your home care watching isn’t a problem anymore. Even though it is important, and I appreciate your concern, I think when we look at it, we are looking more at the streets in the long term,” Paulus said.
Paulus said that is a little bit more explanation on their part about why the made the decision on their end. He said people and businesses come and go all the time, so to individualize it instead of looking at a much bigger picture is difficult. He advised it was not an easy decision, but he did agree with the visibility and line of sight being a positive aspect they based their decision on.
“I honestly am stuck on this issue myself Scott (Ward),” Corey Griesdorn said. “I was stuck on it for all the meetings we had before.”
Each council member personally apologized for the communication saying they could have done better, and they will work towards having better communication in the future while paying attention to the wording of their notices. They agreed to give it a chance for a while before coming back to it to reassess the data. They agreed if there is a future issue, they will reevaluate their approach.
“You have given us a lot to think about, and we appreciate that. There was certainly not intent to leave you out of the discussion, and I do feel bad because it certainly was not intentional. I do feel at this point we should just see how it works out, and if we observe problems, we can rethink it.”
The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, March. 8, at 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].