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June 14, 2011 - 9:33am

Residents of Douglas Street raise issue of new parking enforcement with city council

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Douglas Street.

Residents on Douglas Street in the city are confused about a seemingly new effort by a code enforcement officer to ticket them for parking, at least partially, on the grass.

That's illegal, but some residents spoke at Monday's city council meeting and said they've been doing it for years, if not decades, and never a peep before from city officials.

“(The city) is telling us that what a parkway is, is grass…or stone (between the road and sidewalk),” Barbara Shephard said. “And we can’t park in that parkway at all? We have to park in the road? It’s ridiculous.”

After a lengthy discussion that sometimes got heated, the council agreed to consider the matter at a future council conference meeting.

During the discussion, one resident was gaveled down by Council President Marianne Clattenburg.

According to WBTA:

“Leave it alone – now. And if you don’t: at the next meeting, I’m gonna be here,” Shephard sternly told the council. “Oh yeah. I’m gonna be here again, and I’ll be here all the time. Leave them alone, you understand?” Shephard’s stern delivery prompted Council President Marianne Clattenburg to ask Police Chief Randy Baker whether Shephard’s statements constituted a threat. When the Chief replied that they did, Clattenburg banged her gavel and cut Shephard off.

Chris Charvella
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It's only a threat if there's a picture of a fuzzy alien creature involved. What was the citizen threatening to do? Show up at City Council meetings? OH THE HORROR!!!
Phil Ricci
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Chris I don't think you understand how serious threatening an E-wok is. They have spears...and rock slings...and cute furry faces that make you think they're your friends. Then after they impale you, they play drums on the helmets of their prey. They're vicious!
Thomas Mooney
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What a joke , Officer Baker should be asshamed of himself for thinking those were threatning words . Leave decent citizens alone and go after the scum bags right around the corner from city center . Particularly the ones that collect junk and try to sell it everyday at the ongoing garage sale at the corner of Washington Ave and Summit st. These people collcet money from the government but yet they are able to fix and re-sell lawn mowers . Have you seen what they have done to the neighborhood . The side walk is stained from all the oil dumper at will . Who wants to walk by that house with kids listening to garbage mouth talking and not mention they block the sidewalk .
Howard B. Owens
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I don't believe there is a female Officer Baker in the city. There certainly isn't one mentioned in the story.
Thomas Mooney
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ooops , corrected
terry paine
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I'll bet the tickets the Douglas Street residents got mentioned real threats.
Phil Ricci
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After a lengthy discussion that sometimes got heated, the council agree to consider the matter at a future council conference meeting. This is why nothing ever gets done.
Gary Spencer
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just saying....
Mark Potwora
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I got to agree with that Phil...You would think that code enforcement would have bigger fish to fry than worrying about parking in front of ones house ...Maybe the city has to many code enforcement officers,if this is what they choose to enforce..
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I'm just guessing here, but I suspect the complaints were about the fans going to Dwyer Stadium parking on the grass. This is an example of unintended consequences.
Irene Will
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“(The city) is telling us that what a parkway is, is grass…or stone (between the road and sidewalk),” So why do they call it a PARKway ? Even the NAME the City GAVE it insinuates that it's for PARKing - doesn't it ??????
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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Howard Chris said fuzzy alien creature,Phil said E-wok and Thomas said scumbags????????????????????
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“(The city) is telling us that what a parkway is, is grass…or stone (between the road and sidewalk),”What if you have no sidewalk in front of your house..Can you park on the lawn then........
Daniel Jones
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I suspect that the waiting time may be about issuing them a variance, letting Jason properly research what needs to be done and what kind of language needs to be used to do that. I wasn't there, but from the sounds of it, Marianne handled it the right way. Expressing your anger and frustration during a meeting is one thing, causing a scene during a meeting is another.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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If everyone doesnt like the Democrat's in charge or their rules enforced by their code enforcement agent Barney Fife vote them all out in the fall.There is trouble in the forest when the old oaks won't give us maples light.Vote out the old wood put some maples in. Laws won't change if you have people in power holding there seats till one of them passes away. And then you have to fill a seat with someone new. What happend to 5&10 yr.terms of office?
John Roach
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Joseph, the majority on City Council are Republicans. It's 4 Republicans, 3 Democrats and 1 Conservative. And 4 of them are just finishing their first term in office, so what in the world are you talking about?
Daniel Jones
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Joseph - The City Council has a 5-3-1 (one Conservative Party Member) Republican majority. Not that I'm being partisan, just pointing out facts. The County Legislature has a 8-1 Republican majority.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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Rosemary was in how many years? And who are the four by name and political party that are finishing their first terms you forgot to mention those simple little things?
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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I do agree though that the majority party is Republican in the city council and the county legislature thats a fact.
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Joseph, I'm confused. First you tell us that the Democrats have all the power on the city council, then you "agree" that the Republicans hold the majority of seats. It would seem that your initial comment was quite confident that you KNEW exactly where the blame should be put, but then you asked who holds which seats in the council. Was this just an opportunity to rag against Ms. Christain and the Democrats?
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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Oh and Daniel you wrote a while ago that Howard doesnt allow people to say certain names and you wanted proof that sometimes he has. Rub your contacts and look above.
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Bea I was refering to the length of the terms of office not whom is the majority.When I said the Democrats in charge.
Daniel Jones
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Bialkowsi (Ward 4 -R), Sam Barone (Ward 3 - D) and Bill Cox (Ward 1 - C) are finishing out their first terms. Patti Pacino (Ward 2 - R) was appointed to fill out the remainder of Marianne Clattenberg's 1st term as the 2nd Ward Councilperson and was elected last year in a special election to fill out the rest of the term. She is up in November. I am confused as to what you mean, the Republicans have had the majority on Council from the 2009 election on and held it before from the 2001 election until the 2007 election. Although Tim Buckley was elected as a Democrat, he switched to Republican. Therefore, I'm still confused as to what you mean. I personally think that Marianne Clattenberg has been an excellent Council President and has been able to work with everyone on council to maintain the city's finances. Yes, there are disagreements and I do not agree with every decision, but by working cooperatively, Council and Jason Molino (who is a great city manager and non-partisan professional) have restored fiscal sanity. Edited for semantics changes.
Daniel Jones
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Being 'in charge' means the majority. Rose Mary Christian, nor Kathy Briggs, whom you a referring too have ever been Council President and have not been in the majority for any great length of time. That's what being 'in charge' means.
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Rose Mary Christian: (D)6th ward - I think 5 terms now. Running again Kathy Briggs: (D)5th ward - 3 terms now and running again Bill Cox: (C)1st ward, 1 term, running again Sam Barone: 3rd ward, 1 term, not running Patti Pacino: 2nd ward ran to fill a vacancy. Has 1/2 term in. Running for a full term Bob Bialkowsi: (R): 4th ward, 1 term, running again The others are At Large members and not up for election this year Frank Ferrando:(R) in his 3nd term, running for County Legislature this year Tim Buckley (R) in his 2nd term Marianne Clattenburg (R), served 2 years as 2nd ward councilwoman, then won her 1st term as At Large, which is not half way thru yet.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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Yes theres only three but they are the 3 representing their political party.Which makes them in charge of their party.=Democrats in charge of their party.I didnt mean in charge as the majority party.
Chris Charvella
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Wow, Joseph, did you sprain a muscle there? Mental acrobatics can be tough.
John Roach
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Joseph, that just does not make sense. The Republicans also represent their party. And 3 out of 9 does not make a majority, no matter where you went to school.
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Daniel I agree with you about Jason Molino doing a excellent job as City Manager returning our city to fiscal responsibility. Hes what Im talking about a young profesional.
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We need more young professionals with new ideas regardless of their party affiliations is what Ive been trying to say people.
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Joseph, well then you finally said it. Problem is that right now, most young people are too busy trying to make a living to run for an office that pays about $1.54 per hour.
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Joseph, it's pretty tough to be a professional with a young family and serve on Council. It takes an awful lot of time. It took a little too much of mine when I served. The one thing the City doesn't lack is new ideas or good people. I dont live in town anymore so, for what its worth, in my opinion Council is a very deverse group of people that all do their best. The City is lucky to have each and every one of them.
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Irene, a "parkway" derives more from park (as in flowers and trees) than a place to leave an automobile. Parkways are typically divided by a tree-lined median that offers the foliage to yield a sense of being in a 'park.' Redfield Parkway is a prime example of a typical 'parkway.'
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Posted by JOSEPH MAROTTA on June 14, 2011 - 4:14pm Bea I was refering to the length of the terms of office not whom is the majority.When I said the Democrats in charge. My first question would be, "in charge of what?" Length of service has nothing to do with being in charge. Then, I read: Posted by JOSEPH MAROTTA on June 14, 2011 - 4:28pm Yes theres only three but they are the 3 representing their political party.Which makes them in charge of their party.=Democrats in charge of their party.I didnt mean in charge as the majority party. So, it is okay for the Republicans, who hold the majority to be "in charge" of their party? This just doesn't make sense. The question is still, 'in charge of what?" I bet if you asked any of the three Democrats, who do attend party committee meetings, if they felt that they had more power than other committee members the answer would be a resounding, "no". Most likely the same answer would come from the Republican councilpeople too. Rosemary, like the others (regardless of affiliation)work tirelessly for their constituents. As an example, and not because this is an election year, Rosemary helps prepare lunches at the 400 Towers summer diner every Thursday. A great example of a public servant, serving the public. She attends required meetings, volunteers at the VA, and makes herself available to her constituents. Her long service to our city has never been a power grab. She does her homework, fights for what she believes is right, and is not afraid to speak up. As far as young professionals are concerned, How many young professionals have the time to devote to city politics? How many really want that responsibility? We should be thankful for the people who do run for city offices.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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I wasnt picking on Rosemary, Bea. I was only showing people that live in this county that some people have held their positions longer than others.As for what she does for veterans and her community your right Bea she has done alot I know I am veteran.Thank God for Rosemary she's got a big heart.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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I never infered that her long service was a power grab but since you people like putting words in my mouth that I haven't said. Heres a few for you don't add words I haven't said!
Bea McManis
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Sorry, Joe I may have misunderstood you.
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As a father of three growing boys even though Im a disabled veteran and get to be home with them when their not in school.I can see yours and Charlies point that many with a family wouldnt be able to devote their time to politics. I was a Chief Warrant Officer and worked from home getting WW2,KOREAN AND VIETNAM Veterans their medals and certificates like Mr.AL BOHLER who passed away and I miss very much as a neighbor and friend. It is hard to do both and I give alot of credit to who ever can and is doing it like city council members,police officers,firemen, senators,congressmen,teachers, boy scout and girl scout leaders and THE COMANDER IN CHIEF HIMSELF.
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Bea youve got something I havent got though a picture of you a Bowser fom Sha Na Na from when he visited the 400 towers now thats cool!
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Wait a minute....we drive on a parkway, and park on a driveway? I'm confused..... I was told recently by a police officer, that the parkway (between the sidewalk and the street) does not belong to the property owner, technically it belongs to the city. The police were called, because a neighbor was having her pre-cast basement walls delivered by tractor trailer. Because of only a 37 foot frontage of the property, and the need for a crane to also pick the walls off of the trailer and set them, they had to angle the trailer in and doing so, drove over "my" parkway and the end of "my" driveway. This caused deep ruts in the grass and slight damage to the end of "my" driveway. I was also told, there was nothing I could do about it, as long as it wasn't done maliciously. Just saying, sometimes things are not as they appear.
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I understand that the particular code in on the books. However, if the City has not been consistent with enforcing it I would think they should be obligated to give warning prior to starting back. To me it shows a lack of respect on the part of the officers enforcing the code and the City for the residents of Douglas street.
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CM Barons - thanks for the clarification - reminds me of the comedian who said - Why do we drive on the parkway and park in the driveway ????
Phil Ricci
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If the city can ticket it, they own it. If however, there is work to be done, then it is the responsibility of the homeowner.
JOSEPH MAROTTA
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What we have here is Failure to disceminate on the cities part. You can't enforce laws with no clarifide boundaries therefore it nulifies itself. The burden of proof or justification governing such an unenforceable law would be on the city to prove, Save your tickets get a lawyer go class action on the city and when you win BARNEY FIFE code enforcement extrodinaire wont have a job!
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City Code Section 178-16 (available for all to see on the City's website) Parking in parkways. A. Prohibited. It is unlawful for the operator of a motor vehicle to park the same within the limits of any parkway, or within the boundaries of lands lying between the street curb and the outer limits of the sidewalk running parallel with the street curb, such outer sidewalk line to be construed as being a direct continuation of the general sidewalk line on the outer or street side along the entire length of the street. B. Exception. Motor vehicles may be parked in any such parkway, provided that such parkway has a paved, macadam or blacktop hard surface; and provided that the real property abutting or adjacent to such parkway is a mercantile establishment; and further provided that in no case may such parking occur on such parkway adjacent to a street designated as an arterial highway. No obstructing object of any description shall be installed or parked within 35 feet of street intersecting the parkway. It shall be unlawful for any portion of any parked vehicle to obstruct a sidewalk to any degree.
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If Beth's quote is complete then all parking spots along the downtown area are in fact illegal. The wording says in no case may such parking occur on such a parkway ajacent to a street designated as an arterial highway.
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Kyle seems your right and that would make all the so called beautification islands they put in the bike lanes on Ellicott street Illegal as they are located on the outer edges of the sidewalk paralel to a street designated as an arterial highway. there are more trucks on Ellicott St. than Main street at times and it leads to Main street.Im not talking about the islands downtown rather the little ones down the street from the Pokadot resteraunt across fom Rob's can return place.

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