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Council poised to relax limit on parking

Street restriction seldom enforced

If you live in the city of Spokane, get home from work at 6 p.m., park on the street and don’t leave again until 7 the next morning, you’re violating the law.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart wants to change that.

Next month, the council will consider amending parking rules to increase the time vehicles are allowed to be parked continuously on city streets, from 12 to 24 hours.

Councilman Jon Snyder said the change is especially important in some older neighborhoods where residents rely on street parking and don’t often have driveways.

“This is the case where government needs to relax regulations,” Snyder said.

Changing the rule appears to have enough support to win approval at the Sept. 8 council meeting.

“It’s long overdue,” said Councilman Mike Allen.

Councilman Mike Fagan said he’s open to the idea but that he was unaware the regulation was a problem – partly because the 12-hour rule isn’t often enforced. Officials say the rule is usually only invoked when someone files a complaint with city Code Enforcement.

But Stuckart said he has heard from constituents who were found in violation of the rules by Code Enforcement after “retaliatory neighbors” filed complaints.

“I myself break that law sometimes,” Stuckart said – though he’s never gotten in trouble for it.

Council members said while the current law is too strict, they still see a need for a time limit to keep people from using streets to store junk vehicles and prevent long-term parking in commercial areas where businesses need places for customers to park.

“Twenty-four hours is a lot more reasonable,” said Councilwoman Candace Mumm.