City council member Lorraine Hehn, a resident of Rodeo Palms, requested a discussion among council regarding on-street parking issues plaguing the community. She explained to her fellow members that cars are parked for long periods of time without moving, some with flat tires and expired licenses and inspections, and some are even on blocks with no wheels at all. She also complained about the amount of cars parking along the streets that at times can hinder transport along the roadway. Of primary concern to Hehn is the prospect of emergency vehicles being unable to traverse the roads due to the narrow space that remains when cars are parked along the curb on either side.
The manager for the home owners association, Janet Davis, presented council with a letter starting the concerns of residents and a number of photos showing numerous instances of inoperable vehicles. She believes it the city’s responsibility to enforce the parking issues claiming the streets being publicly owned make it so. She said the community of 1136 single family homes will continue to grow and that the parking troubles and the lax enforcement “drives down our property values, lowers the aesthetic quality of our homes, and makes the streets less safe for our children.” She blames the city’s inaction on the community “starting to look like a junkyard.”
Manvel’s police chief, Keith Traylor, addressed the issue and explained that the primary means of enforcement should be from the Homeowners Association (HOA) in being stricter in their application of HOA rules. The police department can only issue citations or have vehicles removed if they are in violation of state laws as Manvel currently has no city ordinances in place to deal with parking issues. Vehicles appearing abandoned, as was well demonstrated by Ms. Davis’ photos, do fall under state law and the chief indicated an intent to more closely look into the situation. Council also indicated an interest in drafting appropriate ordinances that would allow for some limitations when parking along subdivision roads, particularly given the expected increase is such roads as development continues in and around the city.
Traylor explained a similar situation when he was on the police force in Lake Jackson some years back. He told council that due care must be taken when deciding how strict to enforce parking rules. He cited an example of forbidding cars from parking on the streets which moves them to driveways that often times struggle to accommodate two vehicles without blocking a public sidewalk. Blocking sidewalks is also a violation meaning the homeowner would receive a violation regardless. Traylor speculated that those receiving the citations would very likely be more determined than the initial complainers in expressing their displeasure. He related the experience in Lake Jackson of people inundating council meetings with complaints of excessive issuance of parking citations.
Rodeo Palms residents can look forward to the matter receiving greater attention after a newly hired Fire Marshal and Code Enforcement Officer begins work later this month. His efforts along with the police department and the newfound awareness among council members to address the problem should begin to produce results in dealing with the blight of numerous illegal vehicles littering the streets.