Are more parking controls coming to Kearny?


Kearny has moved to tighten regulations governing the allocation and use of designated curbside parking spaces for the handicapped.

Last Tuesday, the mayor and Town Council approved the introduction of an ordinance that would:

• Shorten, from two years to one year, the time period for which a handicapped or reserved parking permit can be granted.

• Restrict the area for which a curbside handicapped parking spot can be set aside as “within a radius of 200 feet of the perimeter of the tax lot on which the residence of the handicapped person is located.”

• Subject anyone found in violation of the parking permit area restriction rules to a fine of $100 for a first offense. For a second offense, “the handicapped permit for the vehicle shall be revoked and the handicapped person shall not be eligible to apply for another handicapped parking permit in the Town of Kearny for a period of two years.”

As part of the proposed changes, an applicant for a handicapped spot would have to present medical evidence to document their infirmity annually instead of every two years, as now required, noted Councilwoman Susan McCurrie, who chairs the council’s ordinance committee.

The council drafted these changes in response to complaints from residents in different parts of town that handicapped parkers were inappropriately using permits to reserve curbside spots for family members, thereby making it harder for neighbors to find spaces.

Councilman Michael Landy characterized the proposed changes as “a great first step” in addressing the handicapped parking issue. “It’s a shame we have some abusers of the law,” he added.

McCurrie reiterated that the major thrust of the amendment was “to make sure that if you have a handicapped spot, then you should use it. … You cannot reserve that space for anyone else.”

There may be “additional amendments” introduced later, McCurrie said, if the council feels there is need for further refinements of the law.

Meanwhile, the current proposed changes will be up for a public hearing and adoption at the next council meeting scheduled for March 8.

On another parking front, Councilman Richard Konopka recommended getting out a letter to all local school principals asking school employees “to be more mindful about where they’re parking.” In many cases, he said, “cars are taking up two spots” where there is room for another vehicle to park.

“I’ve seen it myself,” Konopka said. “Where I live – on Wilson Ave. – I’ve gotten complaints from my neighbors.” It’s even more annoying when people come home at night and have to drive around looking for a space, he said. “And I don’t have a driveway,” he added.

Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle suggested putting a flier on a car window asking the vehicle’s owner to be more more careful but Konopka replied: “I’d rather not do that.”

Mayor Alberto Santos said he would raise the issue with Schools Superintendent Patricia Blood when the pair are scheduled to meet soon on other matters. “It’s a hard issue to enforce,” he said.

“I’m just trying to find some relief from the parking problem for the whole town,” Konopka said.

In other developments, Santos said the town planned to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 8 at Veteran’s Memorial Field, bordered by Belgrove Drive, Bergen Ave. and Afton St., to mark the completion of its makeover from dirt to turf, with other improvements.

Engineer Joseph Vuich said that a tarp for the field’s protection “should be in place” for the town’s July 4th celebration and that a cost-benefit analysis would determine whether the town should rent or buy it. McCurrie recommended looking at how much it would cost for cleaning the tarp as well.

Providing news on other infrastructure-related projects, consulting engineer Michael Neglia said that work on the town’s first off-leash dog park has begun with a stake-out of the Passaic Ave. site and delivery of stone and water main connection expected by this week.

Updating the status of improvements planned for the playground at Washington School, Town Administrator Michael Martello said the Board of Education’s LSRP (Licensed Site Remediation Professional) assigned to the site should be reporting to the state Department of Environmental Protection on the status of the parking lot “cap” within “four to six weeks,” at which point, if DEP signs off, the town is “ready to go out for bids,” said Neglia.

As for the Hickory St. playground project, Santos said that previously received bids are being reviewed by the legal department which should be bringing a recommendation for an award by the March 8 council meeting.

Konopka asked about the status of the old smokestack still standing on a former industrial property near the south end of Passaic Ave. When it comes down, Martello replied, is a matter to be settled between the property owner and his demolition contractor. All prior demolition activity on the site has ceased and “all of the contractor’s equipment has been removed,” Martello added.

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