(9/8/03) Parking in some of the town’s
subdivisions got a lot easier Monday night, but Pembrook Woods
The town’s board of commissioners
voted to allow most residents outside its village zone to park
in front of their homes for as long as two weeks at a time,
but Pembroke Woods’ request for on-street parking was denied.
Previous town ordinances allowed on-street parking for no more
than 24 hours. Town Manager David Haller said those rules were
written in 1977, when Emmitsburg was very different, and that
many people in new developments should be able to leave cars
parked on the street over a weekend or while they are on
Pembrook Woods, however, won’t benefit
from the change. Pembroke Limited Partnership, which built the
subdivision, got approval for a dry swale stormwater
management system and narrower streets from a previous board
of commissioners and planning commission. However, the company
had to agree to prohibit on-street parking.
Lucas, Emmitsburg’s planner, warned that because the
swales abut the road, allowing on-street parking could damage
them and cause erosion problems.
"I can’t see us changing it," board
President Patrick Boyle said, "... without tearing up the
whole development and what was approved by a previous council
and previous zoning board."
Commissioner Art Elder, however,
empathized with Pembrook Woods’ homeowners. "It seems it’s a
shame that people have a $300,000 house and can’t hold a
cookout (because there’s) no place to park your cars," he
said. Bill O’Neil, a Pembrook resident, argued that the swale
system isn’t working anyway. He asked the board to allow
parking on one side of each street "so people can have
Christmas and have relatives come in and not get tickets." Mr.
Boyle’s motion to deny the request was backed by Clifford
Sweeney, while Mr. Elder and Joyce Rosensteel opposed the
motion. Because of the deadlock, no change was authorized.
Two town committee spots also were
filled. By a 3-1 vote, Chris Staiger was chosen to serve on
the planning and zoning commission, while former town
Ted Brennan unanimously was named to the ethics
committee. Mr. Staiger, a member of the board of directors of
Citizens Organized to Preserve Emmitsburg (COPE), a grassroots
political group, and Mr. O’Neil, COPE’s president, applied for
the planning spot. Mr. O’Neil said the board should interview
candidates for planning seats, calling it "the most important
committee in town."
In closing his statements, Mr. O’Neil
said, "Clearly this is a political appointment. Go ahead and
Mayor Jim Hoover recommended Mr. Staiger for the
vacancy. Mr. Boyle, Ms. Rosensteel and Mr. Sweeney voted for
his approval. Mr. Elder cast the dissenting vote.
After the meeting, Mr. Sweeney, the
board’s representative on the planning commission, said he had
no problem with either candidate. He said he voted for Mr.
Staiger because a negative vote would have resulted in a
deadlock, meaning the seat might be unfilled for the next
planning commission meeting, which includes an annexation
The board unanimously voted to amend
its weed ordinance. The new rules allow the town to act if
grass or weeds on a developed and improved lot reach as high
as eight inches. On undeveloped and unimproved lots, the
maximum height remained at 18 inches.
The issue grew from a comment by
Dottie Davis, a former town commission member, at the July
meeting, that 18 inches was too high in residential areas.
The commissioners also decided to
spend $2,500 to buy 12 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
flags. They will be flown along town streets when the National
Fire Academy, located in the town, has memorial events.
The commissioners continued discussion
of three election-related matters and seemed to have reached a
consensus. The board requested that documents be drafted to
change the filing date from seven days to 21 days before an
election. This will allow more time to prepare absentee
It also wants the next three elections
to be for terms of three years and five months so the election
date can be moved from April to October. Terms would revert to
three-year periods thereafter.
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