“What is the purpose?” asked another resident. “Why are you doing this?”
“This is to protect the resident,” maintained Dougherty.
Explained Dolan: “If we are not enforcing the residential parking zones in the evening, the part-time employees of the arena and the arena event-goers are going to be parking in those spaces and the residents won’t have a space to park in. We’re trying to protect the integrity of the neighborhoods.”
“Why would somebody going to the arena be parking on 2nd Street?” asked Guridy. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Another resident suggested the arena should be providing enough parking for its employees and patrons, so they don’t have to use parking meters.
Residents argued the change in hours will cost residents $18 more each week to feed parking meters between 6 and 9 p.m., in a city where 27 percent of residents are at poverty level.
“If somebody has to pay $20 a week, I’m not voting for that,” said Guridy.
Dolan said residents in many areas with meters can get parking permits that only cost $20 a year and they don’t have to feed the meters. “We think $20 a year for permit parking is extremely reasonable,” said Dougherty.
Guridy suggested those parking permits should be available in all residential areas.
Dolan said almost all residential areas with parking meters already have permit zones. Said Guridy: “What’s the harm of doing all of them?”
Dolan said making that change would involve surveying neighborhoods to determine where owners of cars parked there live. She estimated that survey could be completed within about a month.
“Why can’t we wait another month if it’s only going to take a month to do it?” said Guridy.
Davis said the city should do something about the problem of people attending meetings in City Hall who would have to leave those meetings to feed parking meters after 6 p.m.
Dougherty said the administration is working on a plan so people attending meetings do not have to pay meter parking.
Resident Ernie Atiyeh suggested free parking be offered on the City Hall parking deck for those attending meetings.
Liquor license transfer approved
After an hour of discussion, council voted 4-2 to approve the liquor license transfer.
Council members Eichenwald and Daryl Hendricks voted no.
The property at 1139 Union Blvd., formerly Tony's Pizza, has a bad reputation as a nuisance bar, which is one big reason why residents oppose it getting a new liquor license.
It will become the new private club for the American Citizens Slavonic Society of Allentown, Inc.
Council had to weigh the desire of a private city social club that wants to revive itself in a new home against concerns by East Side residents and city officials that it will lead to a resumption of criminal activity.
The property also had fire and health code violations in the past – including rodent infestations and un-refrigerated food. And the man who owned it then still owns it now.
Before making its decision, council continued a public hearing on the license transfer that began on March 19.
The Allentown Slavonic Society was represented by Atty. Matthew Croslis.
Approval of the liquor license transfer is contingent on the club conforming with zoning, health, fire and other applicable city codes.