LOGAN — The days are numbered for illegal parking spaces between the curb and the gutter.

The Logan Municipal Council voted 4-1, Tuesday on a resolution that calls for city crews to remove parking spaces built in the so-called "park strip."

As houses were converted into apartments in neighborhoods near downtown over the past 40 years, city officials turned a blind eye while property owners paved park strips, which are city property. Jay Nielson, Logan's community development director, said many residents have complained the proliferation of apartments is hurting their quality of life.

"We need protection for the single-family property owner," Nielson said.

But Councilman Stephen Thompson, who said the city shouldn't discourage people who want to create more housing, cast the dissenting vote.

"We should be encouraging more density," Thompson said. "We should be encouraging mixed use."

City officials have complained the estimated 830 illegal parking spaces create safety hazards because automobiles often stick out into the street and block sidewalks, which forces pedestrians to walk in the streets.

Nielson said the city would make up for the loss of parking by changing the city code to allow property owners to build more parking spaces in the front, back and side yards. The city also plans to sell permits that would allow residents to park on the street all year, which is not permitted now because it interferes with snow removal.

Logan plans to reallocate $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants to help cover the costs of city crews tearing out the illegal parking spaces. After the parking spaces are removed, the city will provide topsoil so landowners can replant the park strip.

But Thompson said the city should establish taxing districts to help cover the costs of removing the concrete and providing substitute parking.

Although the council didn't include creating taxing districts in the resolution, the resolution was amended to say the idea should be considered.

A group of property owners had suggested the city set up a commission to consider removing illegal parking spaces on a case-by-case basis, and the council agreed to seek advice and comments from the group.


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