A proposal to allow overnight parking on streets in the City of Tonawanda was narrowly defeated Tuesday night by the Common Council after the police chief voiced several concerns.
A resolution would have allowed overnight parking on all city streets from April 1 through October 31 and prohibited overnight parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 through March 31.
Currently, the city bans parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Dec. 1 through March 31 to allow for snow plowing and between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. from April 1 through Nov. 30 to allow for street cleaning. It is one of the only area municipalities with year-round parking restrictions – an ordinance that dates back to the 1940s.
But Police Chief William Strassburg told the Council during the work session preceding its meeting that he had several reservations including the possibility that unfriendly neighbors could use overnight parking in their disputes.
“I’m telling you what is going to happen is a neighbor is going to insure and license a junker, park it in front of their neighbor’s house and it is not going to get moved for the summer,” he said.
The overnight parking ban also helps police investigate larcenies and burglaries, he said.
“One of the first things the detective bureau does is go back and pull parking tags to see if there was a car parked anywhere in the vicinity in a place it shouldn’t have been,” he said.
And the department already has a lax policy allowing cars to stay on the street overnight if a resident calls the station and asks permission, he said.
“It is liberally given,” he said.
The Council voted, 3-2, with 1st ward Councilman Charles Gilbert, 3rd Ward Alderman John J. Hall and Council President Carleton R. Zeisz against the measure and 2nd Ward Alderwoman Jackie A. Smilinich and 4th Ward Alderwoman Jenna N. Koch supporting it.
In other business Tuesday, the Council approved a resolution allowing businesses on Main Street between Broad Street and Young Street to each receive three parking permits that would allow all-day parking for patrons who display a permit on their dashboard.
Parking is currently limited to two hours on that stretch of the city’s main business street but some shop owners, including a tattoo parlor, have said they need extended parking.