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New city parking ordinance spawns outrage

The public hearing the Port Orchard City Council never asked for happened anyway on Monday as a half dozen angry residents blasted the council members for passing an RV/boat parking restriction ordinance at their June 9 meeting.

All who spoke seemed to think they’d been railroaded.

“Passing this ordinance is not and never will be the right thing to do,” said boat owner Steve Brown. “It makes me believe that thinking is not a requirement for a council seat.”

The council at its first June meeting passed an ordinance prohibiting the regular parking of boats or RVs in the public right-of-way in residential or mixed-use areas.

The proposed measure had sat in old business for months and therefore fell out of the public eye.

When the council pulled the measure out of old business and passed it earlier this month, none of those who spoke so vehemently on Monday were present.

Many, however, had strongly opposed the ordinance during earlier public hearings on the subject and seemed to find little to recommend it now.

“If the RV isn’t blocking traffic, isn’t a safety hazard and doesn’t have any complaints, why are you saying it can’t park there?” asked RV owner Gerald Carpenter.

In accordance with the ordinance, which allowed residents to ask for specific exemptions, Marvin Rowan, a Rockwell Avenue resident, asked for permission to park his 27-foot RV on nearby Morton Street.

Rowan had, in earlier months, testified against the ordinance using his specific situation as evidence against the parking restrictions.

Once again, Rowan pointed to the visibility problems he had backing out of his driveway and reminded the council his 60-by-100-foot property was incapable of supporting off-street parking for a large motor home.

Morton Street, he explained, is much wider than Rockwell and therefore had plenty of room for a RV and two lanes of traffic besides.

At this point, Rowan said, he had no other legal options.

“If I am refused this parking permit, I’m going to have to sell my RV,” he said, hinting such a refusal might encourage him to sell his house, too.

The council did not act on Rowan’s request, but instead Mayor Jay Weatherill referred the ordinance back to street committee for further work.

No potential amendments were discussed.

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