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City holds first reading on new downtown parking ordinance

Oxford’s first parking garage is six weeks away from scheduled completion and with that, perhaps a new parking ordinance.

During their Aug. 6 meeting, Oxford’s Board of Aldermen held a first reading to amend the parking ordinance.

The amendment, titled Section 102-553 includes parking permits for the first level of the four-story parking garage and corresponding lots and streets on and adjacent to the Square.

“The purpose and intent of the requirements for off-street parking established by Section 102-553 is to minimize traffic congestion and hazards to motorists and pedestrians,” the proposed ordinance reads. “To provide safe, attractive and convenient off-street parking facilities with vehicular access to all land uses, to provide off-street parking in proportion to the needs generated by varying land uses, to ensure access to facilities by emergency response vehicles, and to ensure that parking areas are compatible with the surrounding land uses.”

According to the ordinance, there will be limited parking areas in the following places: the intersection of Jackson Avenue East and South 14th Street West to the intersection of North 9th Street; North Lamar Boulevard from the intersection of Jefferson Avenue to the Courthouse Square; South Lamar Boulevard from the intersection of University Avenue North to Courthouse Square; Courthouse Square in all designated parking spaces around and within the area bounded by Van Buren Avenue and East Jackson Avenue; Van Buren Avenue from the intersection of South 9th Street east to South 14th Street; South 11th Street from its intersection with Van Buren Avenue south to University Avenue; Five parking spaces on the east side of the public parking lot located between Van Buren Avenue and Harrison Avenue; Tyler Avenue from its intersection with South Lamar Boulevard east to South 14th Street; Monroe Avenue from the intersection of North Lamar Boulevard east to North 14th Street; Harrison Avenue from its intersection with South 10th Street east to South 14th Street.

Parking lots considered limited parking areas will be the Van Buren Avenue-Harrison Avenue lot, Jackson Avenue-Monroe Avenue lot, City Hall lot bounded by East Jackson Avenue to the north and Van Buren Avenue to the south, Harrison Avenue-Tyler Avenue lot, parking garage surface lot and the Jackson Avenue-9th Street lot.

The ordinance also details and defines the price levels for the parking permits and where they will honored. Designated parking permit lots will be the following locations: Monroe Avenue from the intersection of North Lamar Boulevard east to North 14th Street; Van Buren Avenue-Harrison Avenue parking lot; Jackson Avenue-Monroe Avenue parking lot; City Hall parking lot; Harrison Avenue-Tyler Avenue parking lot; parking garage surface lot; parking garage and the Jackson Avenue-9th Street parking lot.

There will be two different types of permits: select and premium. The select permits will range from $50-70 per month. A weekday permit, which is valid Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will cost $50. The all-access permit, which is valid Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight, will cost $70. Designated areas for the select permit include: parking garage surface lot; City Hall parking lot; Jackson Avenue between North 13th Street and South 14th Street and the old Department of Human Services parking lot.

The premium permits will range from $80-100 per month. The weekday option has the same day and time restrictions as the select but will cost $80 month. The same goes for the all-access permit which will cost $100. With the premium permit, the same lots will be available as the select permit with some added areas, including: Monroe Avenue; Van Buren Avenue-Harrison Avenue parking lot; Jackson Avenue-Monroe Avenue parking lot; Harrison Avenue-Tyler Avenue parking lot and the first floor of the parking garage.

One lot will remain free in the new ordinance at the Oxford Park Commission office parking lot under the water tower.

Parking permits will be able to have a maximum of two valid vehicle license plates associated with it, but anyone with two or more unpaid parking tickets will not be allowed to purchase a permit. The permits will not be valid for any premium or on-street parking spaces, Sundays or on any City of Oxford special event days. The permits will be issued on a month to month basis with the ability to be automatically renewed.

A fine structure for any vehicles violating the new ordinance is as follows: The first and second violation is a maximum fine of $10 within any 12-month period then increases to $25 and $50 on the third and fourth violations, respectively. Parking violations on game days come with a heftier penalty. First violations will run up to a maximum of $50, and then $75 on the second violation. For a third or any subsequent violation the fine will be a maximum of $100.

A second reading and public hearing will take place at the Board of Aldermen Aug. 20 meeting with the intention of having the new parking ordinance in place by the time the downtown parking garage is operational. A draft of the amended ordinance can be viewed on the City of Oxford’s website.