by Roger LeCours

Responding to a citizen's petition, the select board Thursday night scheduled a special town meeting for 7:30 p.m., June 30, so voters may act on an article setting a time limit of "no more than five hours" for parking in the town's municipal lots on Mill Street and at the corner of Main and Wolcott streets.

The location of the special meeting is yet to be announced.

The board set the meeting date after a prolonged discussion with three businesswomen who feel that the two-hour limit for parking in the municipal lots does not provide enough time for people who may want to shop in the stores and enjoy a restaurant meal.

"My concern as a business person is to have a town that welcomes people to come in, visit multiple stores, go to the restaurants, or use the laundromat," said Linda Fox, who owns and operates a deli in the Centennial House.

Fox was joined by Jane Johns, who owns The Flower Basket, and Mary Gagnon of Gagnon Music.

Gagnon circulated the petition calling for a longer limit in the municipal lots. If she had not done so, the two-hour limit would have gone into effect on June 16, along with the remainder of a new parking ordinance approved by the board in April.

Gagnon said she has no objection to the two-hour limit for "on-street" parking.

Noting the complexities of reflectingthewillof thecitizens, Selectman Sherry Lussier said, "We have to word the vote at the maximum that is desired."

"I would say five or six (hours). That's long enough to let people know what Hardwick is about," Fox replied.

Lussier made the motion on the special town meeting article and it was seconded by ilelmut Nottermann. When Chairman Richard Brochu brought the motion to a vote, Tod Delaricheliere remained silent. The motion was passed by Lussier, Nottermann, and Anne Batten. Delaricheliere and Brochu voted against the new ordinance on April 17.

Fox said a person making a first visit in the business district would not have enough time within a fourhour span to become acquainted.

Fox also pointed out that the Galaxy Book Store is moving from its Main Street location to the former bank building on Mill Street. She said it will be easy for a person to spend four hours of time in the book store when it is in its new location with expanded space and comfort.

Police Chief Leslie Dimick expressed concern that if the municipal lot parking limit is set at five hours, it will encourage some merchants to park their own vehicles there. The chief noted that the use of parking spaces by merchants has been a perennial problem in Hardwick.

Fox suggested that merchants place a newspaper advertisement announcing that they will not be using the municipal lots to leave the spaces for their customers.

Batten said it will not make any difference whether the time limit is "four or five hours."

Brochu said no matter how many changes are made in the parking ordinance, nothing will be gained until "those parking spaces" on the street are loosened up.

Brochu added that the proposal to purchase a $330 "boot" device to incapacitate illegally parked vehicles might be followed up.

Duringthediscussion,Town Manager Dan Hill cautioned against proposing an article that offers "a multiple choice."

While the municipal lot parking limit will be decided at the special town meeting on June 30, the other features of the parking ordinance passed in April by the board will automatically go into effect June 16. They are:

BULLETT

Elimination of the two legal 10minute parking spaces at the curb near the post office door on Mill Street;

Continuation of two-hour parking on Main Street;

Establishment of 10-minute parking for the first two slots in the Mill Street lot for patrons of the post office;

Reservation of a parking slot in front of the Hair Port on Mill Street for handicapped patrons of the post office;

Accommodation of shoppers and restaurant patrons and extension of parking time in front of the elementary school on South Main Street from two hours to three hours;

Use of space at the fire station property on Wolcott Street for commuter parking; and

Establishment of a loading zone space in front of the so-called Davis Store apartment complex on South Main Street to reduce traffic hazards in that section.

In another matter Thursday night, the board accepted the $26,585 bid of Hill-Martin Corp. of Barre for "5-7 yard dump body and plow equipment" to go on a 1998 Ford L-9500 GVW heavy duty truck cab and chassis.

Howard P. Fairfield of Morrisville submitted a lower bid at $26,100, but Town Manager Dan Hill said the bid"didnotmeetour specifications."

"Our specifications called for a honeycomb floor design in the body, which their body does not have," Hill said.

There were also complications with the bid of Vermont Municipal Truck Equipment of Barre and it was ruled out by Hill and the board.

Copyright 1997

The Caledonian-Record

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