A parking ordinance to amend sections of the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance of the Code of the City of Rolla to allow for the removal of two hour parking on 11th St. between Elm Street and Oak Street, the removal of two hour parking on Eighth St. in front of the Mission along with making the north side along 910 W. 10th St. a no parking zone had its first reading at the Rolla City Council.

The ordinance was proposed as a result of Rolla’s Public Works Department receiving three requests for changes to parking, said Rolla Public Works Inspections and Project Coordinator Darrell Jones at the Dec. 3 Rolla City Council meeting.  As a result of the requests, a discourse over eliminating parking spots in downtown Rolla ensued, since residents often remark to the council about the lack of parking spaces.

Missouri University of Science and Technology made the first request in regards to the proposed ordinance. The university is the property owner of 910 W. 10th St. and requested the addition of a no parking zone on the north side of 10th St. along their property citing safety concerns with people pulling out of their driveways.

The second request was made by the property owner of 104 E. 11th St. The property owner requested the removal of the two-hour parking on 11th St. between Elm and Oak streets to allow for employee parking.

The final request was made by the Executive Director of the Mission, Ashley Brooks. Brooks requested the removal of the two-hour parking on Eighth St. in front of the Mission, for the purpose of the installation of a loading zone, said Jones.

Rolla city council member, Brian Woolley, asked if the requests could be split up into three separate issues considering he may want to vote for one request but not for another.

Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits stated in the future there can be an amendment where the council can act upon the applications separately.

Council member Woolley then questioned the requirements and reasoning behind the request of a loading zone in front of the Mission.

Jones explained that there is no time limit regarding the loading zone, someone just has to be actively loading and unloading items.

The reason behind Brooks’s request was a concern with the current ordinance allowing for two-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mission is having problems with people parking there overnight and then getting the vehicles moved when items for the Mission need to be loaded and unloaded, said Jones.

Rolla’s current parking ordinance has two-hour parking downtown from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the  majority of streets, and after 5 p.m. a person can park their vehicle however long they’d like until the ordinance is enforced at 8 a.m., said Jones.

“So this request has nothing to do with loading and unloading, it has everything to do with not wanting cars parked there overnight,” said Mayor Magdits. “I don’t know how many times I have heard about the lack of parking downtown, and once again we’re talking about taking away parking spaces from downtown.”

Council member Jonathan Hines asked if it was necessary for the Mission to use all of the parking spots along 8th Street and if it was instead possible the Mission use only a few parking spaces for loading and unloading.

The Mission requested the removal of all of the parking spots, said Jones, which made sense to city council member, Daniel Jones, who said come 8 a.m. the Mission is not able to function as a business because there are people parked there that shouldn’t be.

Rolla’s City Administrator John Butz suggested bringing the proposed parking ordinance back in two weeks to address the requests as three separate issues.

“It’s going to be hard to re-word these tonight; they weren’t posted as three separate ordinances. We can bring these back in two weeks with three separate ordinances and then have that issue addressed specifically whether or not that (parking spaces) can be compressed or not,” said Rolla City Administrator Butz.

The first reading of the ordinance amending Sections 27 – 92 and 27 – 118 of the general ordinances of the Code of the City of Rolla relating to parking was motioned and seconded by the Rolla City Council to officially set the requests aside and come back to the parking ordinance in two weeks with three separate directives.