COVINGTON — Covington Council unanimously approved the amended parking ordinances that have been under debate for approximately two months during their meeting Monday evening.
During their Jan. 4 meeting, the council agreed to change the time limit for parking downtown from two hours to three hours, as well as to remove the restriction of parking on the side yard of a residentially zoned property.
According to Village Administrator Mike Busse, it is still against zoning regulations to park in the side yard of a residential property, but complaints will have to be dealt with through Planning and Zoning and not through the Covington Police Department.
For village-owned parking lots, the council also agreed to change the restriction preventing people from parking in the lot between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Village employees who are on the clock will be exempt from that rule.
Other prohibitions in the two amended ordinances include the following:
• Parking on High Street from Ingle Road to West Bridge Street between the hours of 2-5 a.m.
• Parking on any street, alley, or public property for longer than 72 consecutive hours
• Parking any commercial vehicle with a GVWR over 25,000 pounds, boat, trailer, recreation vehicle, motor home, or similar vehicle on any street, alley, or public property for longer than four consecutive hours
• Parking in the front yard of any residentially zoned property for longer than two consecutive hours
Both of these ordinances allow a police officer to take immediate action if deemed necessary, including removing the vehicle and charging the person in violation with a minor misdemeanor. If the person in violation is a repeat offender, the offender can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor.
The new ordinances are expected to go into effect by March 2.
The council also heard the quarterly emergency services reports from the Covington Fire Department, Covington Rescue Squad, and the Covington Police Department during their meeting Monday evening. Fire Chief Bart Weer stated that the Covington Fire Department and the Covington Rescue Squad have merged this past month, and will now be known as Covington Fire and Rescue Inc.
“The community’s not going to see any change in service,” Weer said. “I look forward this merger, and I think we’re going to be just fine.”
During Weer’s report, he stated that the fire department responded to approximately 59 incidents during the fourth quarter of 2015. There were 195 total incidents for 2015, and their average response time after getting dispatched was eight minutes.
EMS Lt. Mary Wright stated that the rescue squad responded to approximately 153 incidents this past quarter and a total of 611 incidents in 2015. Their average response time after being dispatched was a little over three minutes.
Chief of Police Lee Harmon said the police department had approximately 627 calls for service this last quarter. For the fourth quarter of 2015, the police department had four felony arrests, 26 misdemeanor arrests, 75 traffic citations, eight warrants, and six parking citations.
Harmon noted that since they had been talking a lot about parking violations, he noted that they had 14 parking tickets for all of 2015. “Not a big priority for us unless it’s something we have to deal with,” he said.
Harmon went on to say that the auxiliary donated 140 hours and the night patrols conducted 5,355 business checks for the last quarter.
For all of 2015, the police department took 2,163 calls for service; they completed 18,798 business checks; and the auxiliary donated 2,100 hours.
During the mayor’s report, the council set the garage sale days for Covington for the first weekend of June — on Thursday, June 2; Friday, June 3; and Saturday, June 4. The council briefly considered moving the garage sale days to another weekend to work around the Troy Strawberry Festival, but decided against doing that, as the garage sale days would have then competed with another festival.
The council also approved the following items:
• Waiving the three-reading rule and approving the village’s 2016 budget and appropriations
• Waiving the three-reading rule and approving a resolution to allow the village administrator to advertise for bids for the 2016 Sidewalk Project
• Waiving the three-reading rule and approving a resolution to modify a contract with Briggs Creative for property acquisition services for the Safe Routes to School Project in the amount of an additional $28,250
• Waiving the three-reading rule and approving an ordinance that accepts the lot split of part lot 1205 in the village, which is owned by KMARC Investments
• Setting a public hearing for 7 p.m. March 21 to review proposed zoning changes, including the annexed school property, the Sink Smith properties, the newly created part inlot 1205, and the south end of Covington bordered by Mote Drive, Grant Street, Bridge Street, and the west corporation limits.
The next Covington Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, instead of Monday, Feb. 15, due to President’s Day, at the municipal building, 1 S. High St.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall