Pell City approves new parking regulations

The city will restripe the area alongside the former Rexall Drugs at the corner of Cogswell Avenue and 19th Street, allowing for only parallel parking and prohibiting angle parking next to the sidewalk.

PELL CITY -- The city will begin enforcing its parking restrictions in the historic downtown district after approving revisions to its downtown parking code Monday night.

The council unanimously approved an amendment to the ordinance that regulates public parking in the city, focusing its efforts on the historic downtown district around the St. Clair County Courthouse and City Hall.

City Manager Brian Muenger said the amendment streamlines the municipality’s parking regulations, reducing restrictions to only four areas in the downtown district. The Police Department is expected to begin enforcement of the parking restrictions when signs and new striping are in place.

According to the new amended ordinance, the city will restrict parking in three areas around the courthouse to one hour.

Those areas with one-hour parking restrictions are the north and south sides of First Avenue North, between 19th Street, also known as Edwin Holladay Place, and 20th Street; the east side of 19th Street North, Edwin Holladay Place, between Cogswell Avenue and First Avenue North; and the eastside of 19th Street, Edwin Holladay Place, between First Avenue North and the first alley running east.

Drivers are currently parking at an angle on the east side of 19th Street North, between Cogswell Avenue and First Avenue North, but the Street Department will restripe that side of the road for parallel parking only.

City officials said drivers pull up on the top of municipal sidewalks, next to the former Rexall Drug Store, and some vehicles protrude too far out into the road, choking the flow of traffic and posing safety issues.

The new amended ordinance also restricts parking along Cogswell Avenue, between 16th and 21st streets, to two-hour parking.

Muenger said once the new striping and signs are in place, police officers will begin issuing warning citations to drivers who violate the parking restrictions.

City officials hinted that the $5 parking fine could increase.

“Overtime parking is presently set at just $5, but I have found that most municipalities that actively enforce parking limitations charge higher rates,” Muenger said. “At such a time that enforcement proceeds to the point of citation, it is unlikely that the current fines will be sufficient to deter violations.”

Muenger said it will take at least two months before everything is in place and police start issuing parking citations to violators.

In other matters Monday, the council:

  • Approved rezoning property owned by Metro Bank on Masters Road from residential agriculture to neighborhood business. The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended the zoning change, and there was no opposition to the rezoning of the property;

  • Approved a request from True Bama Hunters to hold a Catfish Rodeo on Aug. 4 at Lakeside Park;

  • Approved revisions to the Parks and Recreation athletic director’s job description and to post the vacant job position;

  • Approved accepting three bids for the Civic Center renovation project, with a total cost of $1.8 million;

  • Approved purchasing a 2017 Chevrolet Express 3500 15-passenger van with 14,325 miles for $24,585 from McSweeney Automotive Group. The van is for the Street Department to transport inmates;

  • Approved an ordinance increasing the water deposit for residential rental properties from $100 to $150, and for owned residential property from $75 to $100; and

  • Approved an ordinance declaring the Social Service Building as no longer needed for municipal purposes and executing contracts for leasing offices in the building.