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Board revises erroneous law, banning parking on problematic side of street

When East Garfield Street residents asked the Lancaster Village Board to ban parking on one side of their short, dead-end street, board members promptly called a hearing and approved a new local law.

No-parking signs went up in early March.

There was just one problem: They banned parking on the wrong side of the street.

When board members realized their error, they sheepishly passed a revised local law last week that bans parking on the east -- and not the west -- side of East Garfield.

"Unfortunately, due to the fact that East Garfield also has an east and a west side to it, there was some verbiage issues that confused our code, and the ban was placed on the wrong side of East Garfield," said Trustee Edward Marki, the board's point person on this issue.

Village officials didn't realize their mistake until the same residents saw the four signs on the west side of the street.

The village's Department of Public Works, which put up the signs on East Garfield, will walk them across the street as soon as the department receives the directive in writing, crew chief Don Murray said. He said that could happen as early as next week.

Marki said he takes responsibility for the mistake, but it won't cost the village thousands of dollars to fix.

Village officials say the episode shows how responsive they are to the concerns of residents.

"That's one of the things about village government -- the gears move very quickly when you want something done," said Arthur A. Herdzik, the village attorney.

Charlie Ferguson, one of the East Garfield residents behind the no-parking push, said he has spent the past three years complaining to the village about uncovered garbage, building-code violations at vacant homes and, lately, parking issues on the street.

East Garfield runs off the intersection of Aurora and Garfield streets and has only a few homes. The west side of the street faces Aurora Street, and the east faces Cayuga Creek.

"It's a very small, dead-end street," Murray said.

"The term 'street' is very loosely applied," Marki dryly observed.

When cars are parked on both sides, there's barely enough room for a car to get through, said Ferguson. Many of the parked cars are owned by people patronizing businesses on Aurora.

The problem is worse in the winter when snowplows -- which have to back out once they've finished -- sometimes can't enter the street because of parked cars, he said.

Marki and the other Village Board members agreed to hold a public hearing Jan. 9 and, after the hearing, voted to ban parking on one side.

No one noticed the local law banned parking on the west, instead of the east, side.

"I think the Village Board made that decision without checking with anybody," Ferguson said.

"When the signs are up, people said, 'No, no, this is on the wrong side of the street,' " Herdzik said. "Well, we thought that was what you wanted."

The Village Board voted Monday to change the Village Code to ban parking on the east side of the street and to revoke the earlier, erroneous local law.

Of the four signs, two will be moved across the street, one will be taken away and one will stay where it is.