At their August meeting, Wetmore Avenue resident Steve Tarsitano said that the ordinance, which took effect June 17, was too expansive and his end of the street needed to be excluded. The goal of restrictions was to address a “quality of life issue” for the residents of Wetmore Avenue and DeHart Street.
At the time the ordinance was introduced, it was said to address:
• Shortage of resident parking
• Quality of life issues such as excessive noise, trash caused by nighttime visitors
• Provide clean and safe conditions
• Preserve and protect the safety of residents and their property
To avoid ticketing, residents get issued a permanent sticker that is valid for one year from issuance for up to three vehicles owned. Each residential unit gets four visitor parking stickers. Mary Dougherty, wife of Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, addressed the council with a petition of over 40 signatures in her hand.
“Please remember this was not simply a parking issue but a quality of life issue as we have endured constant noise, litter of all types but mainly alcohol bottles, urinating on lawns, vomiting, smashed windows in our cars, fights, people dressing in cars, our plants being broken and stolen,” Mary Dougherty said. “We would like to voice our concern on you possibly relaxing these parking restrictions for the lower part of Wetmore Avenue as we do not want to relive these issues with all the people walking up and down our streets late and night and in the very early mornings.”
The petition also pointed out that there is “abundant municipal garage parking” for bar patrons, and residents’ needs are adequately served by four guest parking passes issued to each resident on affected streets,
Tim Dougherty said he wasn’t going to comment on it, but decided to offer on observation as a resident of Wetmore Avenue.
“It really has reduced the foot traffic and it has changed the street,” Tim Dougherty said. “I work a lot of nights and when I would get home there was very rarely a space and now there is plenty of parking.”
Resident Lauren Steward said the watering down of the ordinance is already an issue.
“There is a difference since the parking came in and now we are starting to see a difference back,” Stewart said. “We have seen an increase in foot traffic and noise and at 3 a.m.. If it is not the whole block it really doesn’t work. “
Councilmember Allison Deeb, whose Ward IV contains Wetmore and DeHart, said that she had received a steady string of calls and complaints at her home.
“I am completely blindsided, dumbfounded and confused about what the proper procedure is,” Deeb said.
Deeb said that some of the complaints she heard came from people who were hosting dinner parties and members of the MacCullouch Hall board who were ticketed.
According to Morristown Administrator Michael Rogers, institutions such as MacCulloch Hall, Kellogg Club, Assumption School and even residents hosting dinner parties need to simply contact the Parking Authority or the Morristown Police Department (depending on the time of day) to let them know if they need parking dispensation.
“You call the parking authority and that’s it,” Rogers said. “The parking authority goes to a certain time of night and then the police. “
While Deeb wanted the administration to apply resources to a study on the new parking issue, Council President Michelle Dupree-Harris said the first step was to engage parties on both sides of the issue in a discussion.
“Have a community meeting first,” Dupree-Harris said. “You need to meet with the residents first and get a feel for what they need on both sides.”
Deeb said she would look to find e-mail addresses and set up the meeting.