If you’ve ever argued with your neighbor before, it may have been over parking.
Frustrated residents sometimes call the police or city hall to complain about someone parking in front of their home or business, but there isn’t much to be done. Unless it’s blocking a fire hydrant, driveway or other no-parking zone, anyone can legally park on the street in front of your property.
“On-street parking is for everyone,” Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer said.
Trying to use signs or paint to prevent people from using public, on-street parking is against the city’s code of ordinances.
Cynthia Traner owns the mercantile Her Shabby Shed at 165 S.W. Third St., on a block that contains several former homes that have since been turned into businesses, including a salon and law offices. She said most of the older homes where companies are now operating out of don’t have driveways or parking lots, causing their employees and company vehicles to take up on-street parking in front of neighboring businesses.
“I have lost business as several of my customers said they came by and (there) was no parking like before, and furthermore I can’t even park in front of my shop to load or unload merchandise,” she wrote in a message to the Herald.
She said she understands that the on-street parking is public, but she wishes the city would increase its parking requirements for businesses operating in mixed commercial and residential areas.
Spencer said there are requirements for businesses to have off-street parking, but the city passed an ordinance in 2017 stating that businesses within 500 feet of certain municipal parking lots can count that parking as their off-street parking. The neighborhood where Traner’s business sits is near a city-owned lot on Orchard Avenue, which allows them to count those spaces as their own off-street parking.
“The city passed the resolution to encourage some of those houses to convert to commercial use,” Spencer said.
He said they have tried to add more parking spaces to commercial areas of the city, including switching some on-street parking downtown from parallel parking to diagonal parking.
Traner said she plans to attend a city council meeting soon to ask the city to consider adding more requirements for off-street parking.
The city of Hermiston has an entire chapter of its code of ordinances devoted to parking, and Spencer said many people are unaware of what’s in there. For example, trailers, boats, broken-down cars and other methods of transportation “incapable of being moved by its own power source” are in violation of city code if stored on the street for more than 72 hours.
Other parking rules include:
- Vehicles should be parked facing the same direction as the adjacent lane of travel, within 12 inches of the curb.
- People can’t live out of an RV parked on the street.
- Vehicles should not be parked on the street for the sole purpose of selling the vehicle or selling merchandise out of the vehicle.
- Vehicles should not parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, and vehicle owners should remove their vehicle as soon as possible from in front of any building where the fire department is responding.