Business owners speak out against parking decision


Although Plain City Council decided against adding parking to Maple Street several weeks ago, the choice was met with opposition during Monday’s meeting.
Business owners from the Maple Street area were at this week’s council meeting to voice their disapproval of council’s decision.
Dr. Daniel Lynn, of the Plain City Animal Hospital, which is located on the corner of Maple and Main streets, said he isn’t personally affected by parking on Maple Street but still feels it is a major issue.
“If there are people in this town who don’t think parking is a problem… I don’t know what they’re smoking,” he said.
His business has a small lot for customers to use, he explained, but he’s needed to rent parking spaces in a separate lot for his employees to use.
Since the employee lot is farther from his business, he said he felt the lack of parking on Maple Street poses both a convenience and a safety issue.
He said he wouldn’t want his employees to have to walk to their vehicles alone, in the dark, especially once winter arrives.
For these reasons, he said a decision against adding on-street parking to Maple Street “deliberately made it difficult to own a business on Maple Street.”
Jennifer Shugert, who co-owns the Plain City Chiropractic Office with her husband, concurred with Lynn’s opinion.
She asked each council member to share their perspective as to why adding parking on Maple Street was not a feasible option.
Council member Jody Carney shared snippets of the Sept. 11 work session minutes, when the decision was made, and said council ultimately relied on the suggestion of the village solicitor.
Since the street is not wide enough to accommodate for two-way traffic and on-street parking, council member Shannon Pine said the convenience of parking would not be worth the safety risks it would create.
“We thought that it was in the best interest of our residents to protect the liability of the village,” she said.
Shugert then asked why parking had been allowed on Maple Street previously, if the road width hadn’t changed since construction was completed.
“I just think we had parking in areas we shouldn’t have ever had parking,” Pine replied, adding that safety guidelines may not have been as strictly policed by previous village council members.
As other roadways are improved, Pine said they will likely be brought into compliance with village and state safety guidelines as well.
In other business:
– Mayor Darrin Lane presented resident Allen Shepherd with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the village. Over the course of five years, Lane said Shepherd raised over $50,000 for the Plain City Food Pantry.
“We need more people like Mr. Shepherd in this village,” Lane said.
– Council rescinded a resolution to terminate Paul Lafayette as village solicitor.
The resolution was first introduced following an executive session during the Aug. 26 council meeting. It did not appear on the Sept. 9 meeting agenda, but an executive session was held to discuss it during the Sept. 11 work session.
A second reading of the resolution was set to take place during Monday’s meeting, but council member John Rucker moved to table the resolution indefinitely.
At almost the same time, Pine moved to rescind the resolution, so Rucker withdrew his motion.
Council voted unanimously to rescind the resolution, 5-0, as council member Kerri Ferguson was absent.
“I think all of us (on council) felt it was presented prematurely and it was not properly vetted before it went to council,” Pine said.
She said Lafayette will continue to serve as the village’s solicitor.
– Council approved the third reading of a resolution to establish a new fund for the right-of-way program.
– Council discussed the need to rework an ordinance designating West Jefferson for the village’s building department.
Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said language needed to be cleaned up in order to “cease relations with Union County.”
The state’s Board of Building Standards presented the village with an Oct. 6 deadline for the ordinance, before the village’s next work session on Oct. 9.
To accommodate for this timeline, council scheduled a special meeting for Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative building conference room.

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