Letter to the Editor

I got a parking ticket today. In front of my house.

My house is in a permit parking zone– a fact which I protested long and loud before the ordinance was passed– and I have refused completely to pay $15 for permission TO PARK IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE. We are long-term owner/residents. And we have to pay $15 for a windshield permit TO PARK IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE. I am very irritated at this ordinance. I always have been, but today I am more so. Here’s a letter I wrote to the editor of our local newspaper.

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Dear Editor,

I address this letter to the Provo City Council. I sometimes wonder if you, the Provo City Council, reads the ordinances you vote into law. For example, there is the ordinance in place for parking in University Gardens, which is where I have owned a home for 10 years and lived for most of that time.

This ordinance came about, I have heard, because folks on several streets well east of me complained that students were parking on the street, making the street congested and taking the owner/residents’ parking spaces.

The obvious problem is that most of the apartments students were living in were in violation of zoning laws regarding the number of people allowed in the apartments. Because there were so many students, all of them with cars of course, there did not exist enough parking for them. So overflow happened and long-term residents were crowded.

When these residents complained, a permit ordinance was proposed and somehow passed. The new ordinance, which requires a permit to park on the street between 10PM and 7AM, seems to have eased parking congestion on the streets in question. But the students’ cars, boats and trailers have simply moved just east and north of the permit parking zone.

So what’s the plan, Provo? Keep making parking permit zones, requiring owner/residents to pay even more beyond property taxes and sales tax, so that students keep moving their cars?

Or maybe, instead of making new laws that put the onus on productive, full-time and productive residents of Provo City, existing zoning laws should be enforced?

If you have a law but no system in place for actively enforcing that law, it’s a wasted law. Furthermore, if you put together a new law as a band-aid for a growing zoning law problem, you’re not doing your job.

Have you even read the parking ordinance? If it was submitted to a high school English teacher as a persuasive essay, it would get an F. Here’s one choice excerpt: “parking by non-residents of such areas threatens the health, safety and welfare of all the residents of the City.” It goes on to claim noise, pollution and aesthetic problems arise, which are prejudicial for residents of the city. Really? How do you know that? Where’s your data?

Finally, the preamble to the ordinance states: “For the reasons set forth in this Chapter, a system of preferential resident parking is enacted.” Preferential for whom? For resident/owners? We have to PAY for the permits, and then we get no mercy when we forget to move the car without a permit off the street. How is that preferential?

This is a bad law that is badly enforced by a city council who doesn’t seem to even read its ordinances.

Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous chicken ordinance.

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I’d love to get your opinions on this matter.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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