School board discusses parking ordinance

By Gary Mitchell

City residents around Clovis High School — if not the entire city — may have to purchase permits to park in front of their own residences because of complaints of students parking off campus.
Clovis school officials are considering submitting an ordinance to that effect to the city after a number of residential neighbors around the high school have complained to school and city officials about the high number of Clovis High School students parking on their streets and hindering access to their homes, School Superintendent Neil Nuttall told Clovis School Board members Tuesday night.
“A number of those citizens have gone to the city’s Traffic and Safety Committee and shared their concerns,” he said. “Students who attend Clovis High School park in front of their houses and go to class. During lunch, they often loiter around the area. There are two issues we need to address — parking concerns and student safety concerns.”
Nuttall said he and other school officials met with Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey, police Capt. Dan Blair, city attorney David Richards, CHS principal Andy Sweet and City Manager Raymond Mondragon to discuss options and issues.
After reviewing similar situations and relevant court cases, Nuttall said, Richards drafted a potential city ordinance which would “establish a particular residential area as a residential permit parking district,” such as those set up around university campuses and other school zones in other cities.
If the majority of the contiguous property owners to the streets in the designated area object, the city will not set it up. However, if the majority of the owners do not object, city commissioners may establish such an area.
Once the area is so designated, residents of that area will have to apply for a city parking permit. Those vehicles not having permits will be ticketed, according to the proposed document.
“The city does have the right to restrict and control parking,” Nuttall said. “I think it’s a really good-faith effort on our part and especially on the city’s part. We value your input on what you think about its contents.”
“(If this passes) a certain number of people on those streets or in that area can petition to have parking restricted,” said Lonnie Leslie, assistant superintendent for operations for the school district.
Board member George Banister noted that the document did not specify any particular area — that it was worded generally as if to apply across the board to all city residents.
“Shouldn’t this target a particular area?” he said. “The way it’s written, it looks like it’s citywide. I would hesitate to impose more restrictions on people. I believe in individual freedom.”
Nuttall said the ordinance would be “applied to a particular area.”
“I’m sure those residents would see this ordinance as a way to solve their concerns,” he said.
“The majority of complaints are from people from one street east of the high school,” Leslie said.
“That just proves my point,” Banister said. “It should be confined to that one street. We need to be careful that we’re fixing what needs to be fixed and not be trying to fix the whole city.”
No action was taken on the ordinance proposal.