RW lifts ban on overnight parking

RIDGEWAY – Overnight parking is legal once again in Ridgeway, but only for brief durations and under certain circumstances.

By a 3-0 vote at its July meeting, the Ridgeway Town Council amended its overnight parking ordinance to allow for overnight parking for up to 48 hours. Town permission is needed for longer periods.

In October 2017, the council under different leadership enacted the ban, largely due to a sod truck that sometimes parked overnight in the Cotton Yard.

The town, however, backed up on the ban, opting instead to allow a 48-hour grace period.

“Additional parking needs to be approved by the police department or town council,” Prioleau said. “In the past we’ve had people go on cruises or family reunions, so sometimes we park a few cars longer than 48 hours, and this [ordinance] would restrict that.”

Mayor Heath Cookendorfer, who in the past has supported limited overnight parking, said the process Prioleau requested was being built into the amended ordinance. He said anyone wishing to park longer than 48 hours should fill out a form.

“If after that time frame is up and your car is still there, we’d notify you and say we need you to move your vehicle,” Cookendorfer said.

In addition, parking longer than 48 hours would be allowed with permission for special events.

Cookendorfer did say he wanted to restrict how long cars for sale can be parked overnight.

“In the past, we’ve had cars set up out there [with ‘for sale’ signs] for months on end,” he said.

Priolieau wanted to allow cars for sale for up to 10 days, which the council approved.

The July parking debate was substantially more civil than previous parking talks.

At the October 2017 meeting, discussion grew heated over trailers parked at the Cotton Yard, near where Ridgeway’s former mayor lived.

And at the June 2018 council meeting, tempers flared between Councilwoman Angela Harrison and Rufus Jones.

Harrison insisted that Jones abstain from voting on first reading of the ordinance because she said Jones sometimes parks vehicles overnight.

“I have a picture of it if you would like to see it,” Harrison said.

Jones declined to recuse himself.

Other council members expressed concern that residents of Winnsboro and other communities might take advantage of overnight parking in Ridgeway.

At the June meeting, Cookendorfer said while overnight parking does invite abuse, disallowing it altogether was too restrictive.

“You do get some people up there putting their car up for sale and abusing it,” Corkendorfer said.

In other business at the July meeting, the council approved final reading to an ordinance that increases water and sewer rates by 2 percent.

Originally the town considered 4 percent, but dropped it to 2 percent at the June meeting.

“Ridgeway has one of the highest rates in the state,” Jones said at the June meeting. “I think we should give that to the community.”

There was no discussion at the July meeting. The vote passed unanimously.

In June, the vote passed 4-1, with Harrison opposing because she supported 4 percent. Harrison was absent from the July meeting, as was Jones.

The Ridgeway ordinance increases resident water rates to $16.58 for the first 1,000 gallons and $5.68 for each additional 1,000 gallons. Residents pay $16.25 for the first 1,000 gallons and $5.57 for each additional 1,000 gallons, according to the town.

Sewer rates will rise from $13.25 to $13.52 for the first 1,000 gallons and from $5.04 to $5.14 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Non-residents will pay $21.93 for the first 1,000 gallons of water and $7.03 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Non-resident sewer rates rise to $14.79 for the first 1,000 gallons and $6.22 for each 1,000 gallons, council documents state.

Commercial water customers will pay higher rates as well.

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