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Carbondale City Council makes parking changes on Wall and Oakland, also talks penalties for late liquor renewal apps

By Geoff Ritter
updated: 7/26/2019 11:05 AM

There will be fewer places to park along the curb in Carbondale following several changes approved Tuesday by the city council.

By council vote, parking no longer will be allowed at the following: the west side of North Wall Street between Main and Fisher streets, the east side of South Oakland Avenue between Whitney and Chautauqua streets, and the north side of West Oak Street between University and Irwin avenues.

The council also approved a speed limit reduction, from 30 to 25 mph, on North Wall between Main and Fisher, as well as a four-way stop at the intersection of North Wall and East Willow streets.

The actions along North Wall Street are largely in response to the August 2018 traffic crash that killed 5-year-old Amar Philippe, who was crossing the street.

Councilwoman Jessica Bradshaw noted that the no-parking decrees along North Wall Street and South Oakland Avenue will allow for the construction of bike lanes.

Council talks liquor license late fees

In other business, the council engaged in a far-reaching discussion about a proposed change to the liquor code that would establish a penalty for the late submission of liquor renewal applications. There is currently no penalty of any sort, although the city's problem with late applications goes back years.

Currently, liquor applications and fees are due May 1 each year, which provides applicants with two months to gather and present their materials. The matter of having an approved inspection is a separate issue, but failure to have a completed and approved inspection does prevent the issuance of a new license until such items are addressed.

The Liquor Advisory Board has recommended the city establish a penalty that is a percentage of the total license fee, as well as an additional daily penalty. The discussion drew a range of views from council members.

Adam Loos suggested a grace period be added, noting that a hard, non-negotiable stance might play into the city's oft-mentioned reputation for being unfriendly toward business. Loos said the city should make reasonable accommodation for businesses acting "in good faith, trying to get their paperwork in on time." Bradshaw also said the city should be more lenient, unless the lateness has gone "past the point of convenience," at which point a penalty is reasonable. Lee Fronabarger also suggested the city could send reminders ahead of the deadline.

Jeff Doherty pushed back against the notion of a grace period.

"There are two months here ... that's a long time, and quite honestly, most people do it," he said.

The toughest stance came from Mayor Mike Henry, who opposed all talk of grace periods, extensions or friendly reminders ahead of the May 1 deadline, and suggested business owners "be professional about your business."

"I'm in favor of zero reminders," Henry said. "This isn't kindergarten. I just don't agree with coddling this."

Following the conversation, City Manager Gary Williams seemed to concede it will be challenging to turn the council's discussion into a formal ordinance, but he and city staff would prepare to do just that.

Appointments made to city boards and commissions

The council also approved:

• The reappointment of Pam Schilling to the building board of appeals to a term expiring May 1, 2022.

• The appointments of Vamsi Manne and Amy Dion to Carbopndale Tourism to terms expiring April 30, 2021; the reappointments of Jim Ewers and Casey Twomey to terms expiring April 30, 2022; and the reappointment of Carolin Harvey as an ex-officio, non-voting member for a term to expire April 30, 2021.

• The reappointment of Stephanie Brown to the human relations commission to a term expiring April 15, 2022, as well as an appointment to serve as chair.

• The reappointment of William Ashby to serve as an associate member on the preservation commission for a term expiring May 1, 2020.

• The appointment of Evan Ewing to serve as the CCHS student representative to the sustainability commission for a term expiring May 1, 2021; and the reappointments of Aur Beck and Charles Howe to terms expiring May 1, 2022.

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