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Jim Thorpe council to vote on permit parking ordinance

Several years in the making, a permit parking ordinance aimed at helping residents on West Broadway in Jim Thorpe appears ready for a vote by borough council.

Council voted earlier this month to advertise the ordinance, which establishes a permit parking program to “assure primary access to available parking spaces by neighborhood residents.”

Property owners from 5 W. Broadway to 415 W. Broadway can apply annually for up to two parking permits per residence, which will allow them to park in that neighborhood between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, and all day on the weekends and federal holidays, without being ticketed.

“We wanted to do something to help the people on West Broadway,” Council President Greg Strubinger said during meeting discussion on the ordinance. “Parking is an issue all over town, and hopefully the residents of that area get some relief from this action.”

Discussion on the ordinance started over two years ago. Parking in that area of town, council said, is a huge concern given the number of renters and tourists who chew up a large share of available spaces, requiring residents, in some instances, to walk great distances from their vehicle to the front door.

West Broadway residents can apply for a permit at the borough office and a renewal must take place each year. Council has yet to officially establish the fee for the permit, but Borough Manager Maureen Sterner said the current estimate is $12.

Vehicles without a permit during the times the ordinance is in place are subject to a ticket.

Fines are $50 if paid within 48 hours, $60 if paid between 48 hours and five days, and $75 if paid between five and 10 days after the violation. If the ticket is not paid within 10 days, a citation will take place and the vehicle owner will face a fine of up to $150 plus court costs.

Council originally wanted to make the initial fine $150, but the state only allows a maximum of $50.

Every eight hours a ticketed vehicle is not moved, however, an additional ticket can be given. That means if a car isn’t moved in 24 hours, the owner could accumulate $150 in tickets.

“We wanted this to have some teeth,” Police Chief Joe Schatz said. “We wanted a fine amount that would make people think twice about parking in those areas without a permit. If it is too low, they are just going to stay parked there and pay the ticket.”

West Broadway residents will have some time to get their applications in to the borough. The ordinance, if passed, would take effect Jan. 2, 2021.

Permit parking was part of the recommendations to come out of a multiyear parking study commissioned by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance. While only the West Broadway area is part of the current ordinance proposal, the study also recommended residential permit parking in the High Street and Race Street areas.

The borough will post two signs, one indicating the area is for residential permit parking only and another listing the fines. Public Works Manager Vince Yaich said the signs have to be posted every 100 feet and the total cost for them will be around $6,000.