Complaints about overnight and long-term parking in the downtown area of Bourbon led the Town Council to consider an ordinance that would impose a fine for violators.  The ordinance also notes that the downtown parking overnight has become problematic for snow removal.

During Tuesday’s town council meeting, council president Les McFarland read the ordinance which prohibits parking between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Main Street between Quad Street and Park Avenue and on Center Street from Bourbon Street to Harris Street.  The ordinance does allow parking if a business establishment is open during those restricted hours. Parking is permitted for patrons immediately adjacent to the establishment.

Councilman Terry Clemens said he has seen people working on their vehicles while they were parked on Center Street.   He said there have been complaints of vision issues at Center and Washington Streets. Clemens said the town’s current ordinance does require two off-street parking spaces per rental so anyone living up above shouldn’t be parking on the downtown streets.

Councilman Jonah Best said he walked downtown at 2:30 last Thursday morning and estimated 14 vehicles parked on Center and Main Street.  He said obviously they aren’t doing business at that time of the day.

The ordinance imposes a $50 fine for the first violation and $100 for repeat offenders. 

The ordinance unanimously passed on the first reading but during patron comments concerns were expressed that some apartments don’t have the required two off-street parking spaces and there isn’t room on the property for it. 

McFarland said there a people parking in front of businesses just to irritate the business owner and sometimes they are there for more than a month.

Some residents suggested parking permits or grandfather clauses to allow those who’ve been living and parking downtown.  Council members say some vehicles sit in the same spot and never move for weeks-on-end. 

Tyler Lozier said, “You guys talk about incentivizing to get businesses to come into town, but when you have buildings for sale and then you tell someone who wants to buy the building that they can’t have apartments upstairs because they don’t have any parking, that could offset their cost of running the business. What makes them want to come to downtown?” 

Les McFarland said, “Unfortunately we live a society that bad behavior ends up with rules and regulations and that’s what this has come to.”

Bourbon council members appreciated the comments, suggestions and ideas presented.  The second reading of the downtown parking ordinance will be during the March Bourbon Town Council meeting. The council could pass the ordinance on third and final reading next month too.