• 68°

Ahoskie Council considers parking limits

AHOSKIE – Parking limitations may return to downtown Ahoskie.

On Tuesday, members of the Ahoskie Town Council approved a motion to conduct a public hearing on April 8 in regards to the creation of a two-hour parking zone on the north and south side of Main Street between Mitchell and Railroad streets.

The issue of parking in the downtown district, especially in the Main-Mitchell-Railroad Street areas, has been the subject of debates since last year.

The latest debate came at the council’s February meeting where Brenda Valesquez, owner of Mug Shotz Caf\u00E9 on Main Street, spoke of parking concerns. She pointed out that the new businesses on Mitchell and Railroad streets along with the success of her caf\u00E9 had combined to create a parking nightmare.

“There are cars parked in front of my business, the same cars, all day long that are not my customers,” Valesquez said at the February meeting, referencing the block of Main Street between Mitchell and Railroad streets. “That impedes my customers from locating convenient parking.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond informed council members that a public hearing is required to be held on the matter since it deals with changing a town ordinance.

“Once a pubic hearing is held and if council approves the ordinance change following public comment, the signs (limiting parking to two hours on Main Street between Mitchell and Railroad streets) can be erected,” Hammond said.

Hammond added that this particular issue only deals with Main Street parking between Mitchell and Railroad streets. He also pointed out that the two-hour parking restriction, if approved, would only be in effect from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Further two-hour parking may be considered on a case-by-case basis as requested by business owners,” Hammond said.

Councilwoman Elaine Myers inquired of how the new ordinance will be enforced if and when it becomes effective.

“That falls to the (Ahoskie) police department,” Hammond said. “They will have to patrol the area, using chalk to mark the tires of the parked vehicles in order to keep check on the two-hour time limit.”

After hearing complaints last year from Mitchell Street and Railroad Street business owners, council approved two, two-hour parking spots and one handicapped spot on both streets.