Parking districts coming to Oxford neighborhoods close to Ole Miss?

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016

To allow residents to continue being able to park on city streets in front of their homes in some of Oxford’s neighborhoods closest to the University of Mississippi, the Oxford Board of Aldermen are considering a new ordinance that would create parking districts where homeowners could pay to park on the street.

The idea behind the ordinance, according to Alderman Robyn Tannehill, is to keep others who do not live in the neighborhoods, primarily university faculty and students, from parking all day along neighborhood streets.

“We’re finding some of the downtown streets are being taken over by those who find it move convenient to park in our downtown,” Tannehill said. “Fifth Street, Tyler Avenue and Van Buren are becoming parking lots and the residents are frustrated. Their driveways are being blocked and they can’t have guests because there’s nowhere for them to park.”

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Currently, there’s a two-hour parking limit along those streets. That would remain under the new ordinance, should it pass.

“This would be enforced 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday,” Tannehill said. “It would not affect gameday or church parking on the weekends.”

Under the new ordinance, residents could elect to purchase a permit, once a year, for $100 per vehicle, which would give them the right to park for an unlimited amount of time on the street. They can purchase two, temporary passes at $50 each for visitors. If a resident chooses not to purchase the permits, they can still park for the two hours currently allowed before having to move their vehicle.

Those found during the hours of enforcement without a permit, parking beyond the two-hour time limit, will be fined $10 for the first two infractions, $25 for the third citation and $50 for the fourth and subsequent violations within any 12-month period. Those vehicles with three or more unpaid citations could be towed or booted.

“This is not to fix all of our parking problems,” Tannehill said. “It doesn’t fix too many people living in rental units or address our parking issues all over town. It’s to help maintain order on our downtown streets and allow these folks living there to be able to park at their home.”

Mayor Pat Patterson said the ordinance, if approved, would be a trial program.

“We’ll see how it works and go from there,” he said. “We’ve got to do something. We have residents where this is affecting their quality of life.”

A public hearing will be held on the proposed ordinance at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 at City Hall.

Also on Tuesday, the board:

•Approved the purchase of a used bucket truck for the Oxford Electric Department

•Approved the preliminary plat for Isom Hill subdivision

•Approved the final plat for The Grove at Grand Oaks, Phase IV

•Approved a change order for the Price Street relocation project

•Accepted the maintenance of The Heights, Phase III for the lift station and acknowledged the signed indemnity agreement from the contractor

•Apprved the retirement of Fire Chief Cary Sallis and the appointment of Assistant Chief Joey Gardner as Interim Fire Chief; and also approved advertisting for applicants for fire chief.