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Washington Voices

Parking rules on hold

Residents’ input sways Millwood City Council

Residents from the 2800 block of Laura showed up in force Monday night at the Millwood City Council meeting, voicing strong opinions on a new parking ordinance.

Ordinance 382, passed by the council in July, restricts parking in 10 designated areas in the city, including the east side of Laura.

“We don’t want our parking taken away,” said Heather Hansen, who notified her neighbors of the ordinance. “How are you able to post those signs affecting the entire block when the entire end of our street is represented right here?”

According to Hansen, almost every household on the block was represented at the meeting voicing opposition to the ordinance.

Mayor Dan Mork apologized for the lack of communication but said the council passed the ordinance after hearing resident complaints and safety concerns raised by the fire department for years. He further suggested holding a special meeting in September to discuss the matter further.

Resident Sandy Potts asked if parking is restricted to the east side, what would happen on the west side of the street.

“You’re going to have big clutter on the west side,” Potts said. “Is there any possibility to post a sign saying during school sport event activities, no parking this block? That would alleviate a lot of congestion.”

Mork said that because of the strong reaction of residents to the new rules, the city will refrain from enforcing the ordinance for now. “We’re going to have to look at this again,” he said.

Freeman made a motion to cease enforcing the parking restriction on Laura, and all councilors voted in favor.

Matt Gillis, the project manager from Welch Comer and Associates, updated the council on the Argonne Corridor project.

“Cameron-Reilly, which was awarded the sidewalk project, is substantially complete,” Gillis said. “There’s just a small bunch of items they need to take care of. They’ve done a good job.”

He added that he was “very confident” the city has federal funds available to extend the scope of work south of Frederick to Buckeye. Gillis is working out details with contractor Red Diamond and the Washington State Department of Transportation on a final dollar amount as well as developing an overall schedule for the project.

With the sidewalk project completed, contractor Red Diamond, which had temporarily moved off the construction site, can return to complete the final paving process of Argonne and begin work south of Frederick.

Gillis anticipates a schedule that allows both projects to be completed at the same time. He estimates work beginning the week of Aug. 17.

“It will all happen at once,” Gillis said. “We don’t want two separate shutdowns.”

When construction resumes, traffic on Argonne again will be restricted to two lanes with left turns briefly prohibited.

In other city news, Freeman asked the council to re-evaluate financial compensation for monthly meetings. Council members now are limited to receiving $40 per meeting for two meetings per month.

“I would like to throw out to council,” Freeman said about removing the restriction, “we should at least be compensated for our time fairly.”

Freeman said the base pay should remain the same but that councilors should be compensated for extra time they work. City attorney Brian Werst said he will draft an ordinance stating the changes and present it next month for council approval.

The meeting also featured Mork’s presentation on more traffic enforcement around the city. A contract for extra patrols was approved by the council in April. From May 24 through July 12, and at a cost of $6,025, the patrols issued 147 citations, including 34 on Fowler and Empire.

Maintenance Supervisor Cleve McCoul presented a proposed six-year street plan. McCoul evaluated all the streets in the city for renovation and drafted the plan through 2015. The plan proposes work on Buckeye, Bridgeport and Laura, totaling more than $112,000.