The Pasco County Commission is looking to get rid of a parking restriction that has posed a problem in neighborhoods.
Under its current rules, people parking on the street in residential communities need to have a permit, or they can be cited.
The rule likely isn’t common knowledge to many residents, and appears to be headed toward its demise.
Commissioners have asked the county’s planning and development department to draft an ordinance to eliminate the requirement for residential parking permits on local, county-maintained streets. Parking, however, would be restricted to one side of a street.
Parking on arterial or collector roads would remain illegal. And, private communities with private streets could continue to set their own standards.
Commission Chairman Mike Moore brought the issue to commissioners at their May 23 meeting in New Port Richey.
He said he had received a complaint from a Land O’ Lakes’ resident whose daughter was cited for on-street parking while she was home during the Christmas holiday.
Commissioner Mike Wells said he also has heard similar complaints.
Kris Hughes, the county’s director of planning and development, said parking permits also become an issue for residents during road-paving projects.
“We have multiple examples of the problem,” Hughes said.
Current code requires that residents pay $30 for a parking permit, with the permits limited to four days a year.
There are no restrictions on the number of vehicles that can be included in the permit.
Depending on circumstances, fines for violations generally are $15 and $35. However, fines can be as high as $250, plus community service, if the illegal parking creates a public hazard.
While waiting for an ordinance to end the residential parking permits, county commissioners took an interim step.
They administratively agreed to increase the residential permits from four days to 365 days a year.
About 300 permits are issued annually, with the county collecting more than $10,500 in revenues, Hughes said.
In 2016, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office issued nearly 2,300 citations for all parking violations, generating about $280,000 in revenues. About 43 percent of citations, and about 90 percent of the revenues, were for illegally parking in spots reserved for disabled persons.
About 33 percent of citations, and less than 6 percent in revenues, were for parking on local, subdivision streets without a permit.
Moore said the issue is about helping residents, not collecting more revenues.
Initially, Moore suggested increasing the number of permit days to as many as 12.
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey went bigger — much bigger.
She suggested a 365-day permit.
“I never knew there was such a thing as a four-day permit,” Starkey said.
Pasco County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said the permits were instituted years ago as a way of controlling parking within residential developments. Many have narrow streets, making it impossible for emergency vehicles to gain access if vehicles were parked on both sides of the street.
“Rather than require larger streets, we started this concept of prohibiting parking within subdivisions,” the attorney explained. “When people have parties they don’t have enough room in their driveways so we started issuing permits.”
Commissioners, however, appear to think this is one rule the county no longer needs.
“One less regulatory thing is a good thing,” Wells said.
Published June 6, 2017