Our apologies for the concern over new parking area enforcement. As you will remember, the town, with the blessing and help of the State of NH Department of Transportation created the new and improved space. What you may not remember is that part of the agreement had to do with maintenance, which includes plowing and sanding. We keep referring to this as a "Park & Ride". The original 5 commuter spaces have been increased to 8 and are marked, but the remainder of the lot is really a municipal parking lot paid for in large part by the taxpayers of Lyme. The Select Board worked for two years to get this property for the purpose of answer ing the concerns of many citizens regarding the lack of parking downtown for people to shop, attend events at the school and on the common and to provide an alternative and alleviate the problems associated with parking on the common. Under site plan review and Zoning Board requirements building owners are required to provide on-site private parking for their tenants/businesses. Not all have complied with the agreements signed in order to obtain permits and are in violation of the zoning ordinance. While in the past they just used State land as if it was their own this is no longer the case since local tax dollars were used.
Another thing forgotten appears to be the public meeting where accepting this proposal was discussed. The reason for the ordinance is to assure that main access roads are not blocked by cars left unattended for any period of time, compromising the health and safety of people in the area if an emergency responder can't get through. Including plows. To address the concern that there was no public notice of the Parking Ordinance and its implementation we provide the following for reference:
- Approval of the improved parking area was at March 2014 Town Meeting
- There was a Public Hearing on October 31, 2014, at which a limited number of people attended;
- After legal review the Select Board adopted the Ordinance on 12-18-2014;
- The minutes of July 16, 2015 reflect a discussion about adding the new parking area to the Ordinance for enforcement.
- The minutes of the August 27, 2015 Select Board meeting reflect further discussion about the new parking area being added to the Ordinance;
- Complaints received about overnight & long-term parking;
- The agenda for 9-24-2015 clearly states a Review of the Town Parking Ordinance
- The minutes of 9-24-15 reflect the Parking Ordinance takes precedence over state rules and under #2 (O) and #3 & #4 address overnight and long-term parking. This is an enforcement issue;
- Parking Ordinance-sections J, M, O, #3, #4 and H address the Town’s ability to restrict and enforce the area.
The road through the parking area, provides emergency access to several buildings & businesses. Since its improvement, and to some degree before, there had been a tendency to use some parking spaces regularly by local residents of nearby homes, thereby chronically using spaces which are intended for temporary, daily convenience of commuters, shoppers and short term visitors to local establishments and events.
The time limits as noted on the signage is standard for most restricted overnight parking. The 11pm to 6am time frame in part allows for a presumably empty lot during winter hours so necessary winter maintenance can be done. It also discourages the use for long-term parking because you don’t or can’t park on your own property. Of course, provisions are in place for commuters to jobs with different shifts. Of course you're able to have a discussion with local law enforcement for out of the usual circumstances for use of the lot. The spaces are intended to help with ride-sharing. Not as personal parking spaces. It’s that simple.
Neither the Chief’s message nor the Ordinance is intended to do anything other than to communicate expectations and rules that are equitable to all.
We wish you all a very joyous Holiday and Happy New Year.
Your Select Board