Council seeks parking solution for businesses

     SOUTH WHITLEY — An agreement for designated parking along Columbia Street has finally been resolved as  Brownstone on State owner Kim Balser and Carol’s Corner owner Carol Eberly attended the South Whitley Town Council meeting on Tuesday evening. Both businesses utilize parking along the street.
     To accommodate more parking for customers, the Balsers would like to see angle parking on the south side of Columbia Street, while Eberly, who is concerned about losing part of her parking lot’s entrance, prefers that it remain parallel, along with a resolution for the north side parking.
     With Carol’s Corner a seasonal business, Eberly presented council members with a letter expressing her concerns on this constant dispute.
     “In the past there has been an opening for my school bus to get in and out … on more than one occasion I have come home and not been able to get in my lot because of cars parking all along Columbia Street,” Eberly said. “I then have to find a place to take down a section of rope and get my bus in, nothing said.”
     On occasion, Eberly has noted 11 vehicles parking in her lot during the winter and causing her to continually remove her no parking ropes, which she says is not practical.
     When Key Pharmacy was located on the south side of Columbia Street, Eberly said vehicles also occupied her parking lot to walk across the street.
     “When the butcher shop was next door, people used my lot to load and unload their meat and I always said ’let them be’, they will eat and get ice cream later,” Eberly said. “So here we are, aimlessly feuding over a possible three spots or more … please can we leave the parking alone and go along as we are now?”
Eberly also said she has tried to use the front entrance into her lot, which is off of State Street, but has concerns using this entrance in the winter during bad weather.
“I will try to get in and out of the front if we can just all get along on this,” Eberly said. “I have tried to be a good neighbor, being neat, clean and respectful of other people.”
Utilities manager Dennis Eberhart said the town will do the best they can to keep the front entrance clear in Eberly’s front lot.
     Angle parking on the south side of Columbia Street was again discussed, with police chief Dave Wilkinson opposed and council member John Dunn in favor.
     Council president Joan Eberhart also wants all designated parking spaces on both sides of Columbia Street marked in yellow paint to alleviate confusion.
     “If (parallel) parking remains on the north side, angle parking on the south would be tight with school buses and delivery trucks trying to get through there … that was my biggest concern,” Wilkinson said. “It creates space but takes away driving space and the street is just not wide enough.”
     In the absence of council member Tonya Porter, Joan Eberhart and Dunn both agreed and approved two additional parallel parking spots on the north side of Columbia, along with new yellow lines to be painted on both sides of Columbia.
     “I think if we add two additional spots (north side of Columbia) and leave parallel parking on the south side it would be a benefit to the drive-inn and restaurant,” Joan Eberhart said. “We will also have signs were there is no parking available.”

Horse droppings on road a concern
     In new business, South Whitley resident Teresa LaZarz, who resides on Pook Road, was in attendance and questioned the council on horse and buggy feces within certain areas.
     “They sell products called One Bag….I don’t know why South Whitley doesn’t have a regulation to pick it (feces) up, and whose responsibility is it to pick this up if not theirs?” LaZarz asked. “I pick up after my own dog and if every person didn’t pick up after their animal, could you imagine?”
     With LaZarz living outside of the town limits, Dennis Eberhart recommended that the county be contacted regarding this issue.
     Discussion concluded with LaZarz providing the council with detailed information regarding the One Bag, along with their Web site.

Unsafe buildings back again
     Unsafe building conditions brought to the town’s attention in August by the Whitley County Planning Commission were back again.
     Properties in question are 403 South Line Street and 410 South State Street.
     Although inspections on both properties completed by chief inspector Craig Wagner with the Whitley County Building Department, it has been determined that 403 S. Line St. shows no exterior difficulties that would place the residence in category of unsafe, along with no broken windows.
     However, 410 S. State has a broken window on the east side, and unheated  room on north side, some interior evidence of a failing roof in the utility area, but no visible roof service from the exterior and many grown trees.
     “It’s my recommendation that we have a health inspection on 410 S. State … might be rodents inside and might be wet or something,” Eberhart said. “The other house from the report sounds like it is not a health issue on that property.”
     Council agreed to have Eberhart request a report from Scott Wagner with the Whitley County Health Department regarding the residence on 410 S. State St.

Storm sewer nearing completion
     Dennis Eberhart provided an update on Phase I of the storm sewer project that has been ongoing since June and was mandated by the State.
     “Kinda getting down to about three blocks to go and we were told that the State Street detour is going to be four to six more weeks,” he said.
     API Construction was awarded the project with a bid of $750,451 and the town has been awarded a grant in the amount of $784,399 from the State Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Unmowed yards to be handled
     In conclusion, Wilkinson provided an update on unmowed properties in town.
     “B&B Lawn Plus is $25 minimum and $25 an hour … lowest bidder by far,” Wilkinson said.
     “They will start on Broad Street at the Nutritional Site and anything that comes after that … the Nutritional site will take a couple of days to tackle,” he said.