This could be the final winter Morris residents are allowed to park freely on the streets, as city officials express increasing frustration with vehicles parked on streets after snowfalls that block the efforts of city plows. The issue was discussed at length at Tuesday’s meeting of the Morris City Council. Morris City Manager Blaine Hill told the Council that a number of ideas are being looked at, with a new policy expected to be presented next summer to the Council.
“And really, what we’re leaning towards is once that first snowfall comes, prohibit parking on the streets,” said Hill. “The general public, one of the things I talked about two weeks ago, is if you let them park on the streets after it snows, then they’ll get used to that.”
Plows have to go around parked cars, which then leads to either troubled areas left on a street or extra expense and time when plows need to return to the spot. But Council member Jeff Miller was not convinced that a total street parking ban for the entire winter season was necessary, arguing that once the streets are plowed they are fine for parking. There was lengthy discussion of issuing more tickets and warnings for residents, and for improving the reliability of towing companies, as well as how much off-street parking was even available in the city. Council member Kevin Wohlers said it was a difficult issue for apartment dwellers and landlords.
“The real challenge is going to be the rental properties,” said Wohlers. “I think we all know that 40 percent of the properties in Morris are rentals. And the residential properties I don’t see a problem, because most people have garages and things. But when you’ve got rental property you’ve got multiple people in a dwelling and they’re all going to probably drive a vehicle.”
Police Chief Reggie Welle noted that apartment landlords are required to provide one off-street parking spot per family in an apartment. But some families have more than one vehicle, compounding the problem.