CMBA expresses downtown parking concerns to Clayton City Council

Members of the Clayton Merchants and Business Association expressed concerns to the Clayton City Council at their regularly scheduled meeting regarding the enforcement of parking downtown.

Representatives from various business establishments located in downtown Clayton voiced their opinion to council members as to what could be done to fix the overcrowded parking dilemma.

Many merchants explained that during peak business hours, the limited parking downtown creates a problem for potential customers having nowhere or limited options to park their vehicles.

Cricket Werkheiser who owns Two Sisters Shop at Butler Galleries located on Main Street in Clayton said that the lack of enforcement regarding the parking ordinance is decreasing sales.

“Every time a merchant/business or their employees park in front of a business during the day it decreases sales to our customers who cannot get a parking space,” Werkheiser said.

According to city officials, the current ordinance mandates that “it is unlawful to park a motor vehicle more than three hours on the public streets in the city on Main Street between its intersection of Mill Street on the south and its intersection of Hamby Street on the north and on Savannah Street from its intersection of Old Warwoman Road and Old Chechero Road on the east and Church Street on the west.”

Sec. 42-77 of the Clayton City Ordinance says penalties for violation of this section shall be a warning for the first violation, a fine of $20.00 for the second violation, and a fine of $75.00 for the third and each subsequent conviction.

Although, according to CMBA members, enforcement of this particular ordinance has been lacking.

Some of the proposed ideas to parking issue includes not only enforcing the 3-hour parking ordinance but also to put a large sign to the city gravel parking lot on Church Street – one on Main Street and a larger one in front of the lot.

Another idea proposed to the council is that city officials request that the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Clayton put a sign at their parking lot behind Universal Joint saying “For Visitors Only” and enforce it.

According to Werkheiser, “the lot is full by 10 a.m. on a daily basis with merchants and their employees when it should be for visitors only.”

Clayton city officials said the parking situation downtown is an issue they are currently very focused on and explained when a former official stepped down from parking enforcement, the enforcement fell under the Clayton Police Department’s jurisdiction.

“The parking situation downtown is one that we are very focused on. I have contact with business owners almost every week voicing their concerns and I have been in conversations with Cissy [city manager] and she is attempting to find a way to hire an individual to do parking enforcement,” Scott Dills Zoning administrator said. “When Scott Crane resigned parking enforcement and animal control were taken away from me and presently the police department is the department that is responsible for these issues.”