- On January 2, Mayor Iain Lovatt called in Councillors and Senior Staff from their winter break for a Special Council Meeting to consider an amendment to the Town’s Parking By-Law.
- Their resulting decision provides a complete exemption from Stouffville’s three-hour street parking limit on portions of Firbank Lane, Dougherty Crescent, Hoppington Avenue, and Jamesway Crescent. Parking restrictions will remain in place during winter maintenance operations,
- The meeting was catalyzed by Councillors Upton and Acton, who requested the site-specific changes on behalf of area residents.
- Before the meeting, such exemptions had only been extended to a select number of residential streets with homes on one side of the roadway. The three-hour limit was lifted only on the side of the road without homes.
- Those prior exemptions were also limited to specific times of the day, as outlined in Schedule III of the Parking By-Law. While Staff recommended the new exemptions be in effect only between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., an approved amendment from Councillor Upton will see them in place 24 hours a day.
- Councillor Sue Sherban spoke to the item during the meeting and highlighted the lack of a clear policy that would dictate parameters justifying parking restriction relief throughout the municipality.
- She also noted that such a precedent-setting decision could initiate a wave of additional requests from residents seeking similar exemptions for their streets.
“I find it a little difficult to understand how we are cherry picking some streets because [Councillors] brought them forward versus directing Staff to write a policy,” Sherban stated. “How do we pick and choose a few streets to have these restrictions lifted as opposed to other streets in town?”
“We are experiencing challenges with the existing residents and their ability to park their vehicles at their homes,” Director of Public Works Jack Graziosi explained. “So the solution that has been brought forward tries to best leverage available boulevard space to maximize the number of available parking spots to the residents on these streets.”
Such parking challenges are faced by residents across many of Stouffville’s residential communities.
“I would just like to know, if we pass this change in the By-Law, if a resident comes next week and asks for the same relief, are we going to do the same thing?” Sherban asked during Council’s discussion. “How do we decide? You can’t now say [no] to the next group of residents that come forward who would like to have this.”
“If [Councillors] have residents that bring an issue forward, you come and speak to me like Councillor Acton and Councillor Upton did. It would be up to me to call a Special Council Meeting to address them,” Mayor Lovatt responded. “That’s what happened here, and the same opportunity would be afforded to other residents that bring issues forward through members of Council.”
While not specifically asking for the development of a Town-wide exemption policy, Mayor Lovatt asked Staff to compile a comprehensive report recommending modifications to Stouffville’s Parking By-Law “to address localized constraints and concerns.” Lovatt also noted that Staff are currently progressing through a general re-work of the Town’s Parking By-Law.
A resulting report is expected before the summer recess. In a conversation with Bullet Point News, Sherban said she will request further investigation regarding the implementation of an exemption policy should it not be included in the Town’s review.
With Sherban’s procedural concerns heard and discussed, Council passed the Parking By-Law amendment unanimously.