Honesdale considers banning 12th Street riverbank parking

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 11/11/20

HONESDALE, PA — From recent citizen input, the Greater Honesdale Partnership’s newly-revealed revitalization study, to the November 2 Honesdale Borough Council meeting, the desire to …

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Honesdale considers banning 12th Street riverbank parking

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HONESDALE, PA — From recent citizen input, the Greater Honesdale Partnership’s newly-revealed revitalization study, to the November 2 Honesdale Borough Council meeting, the desire to improve downtown zoning and infrastructural issues seems very much in the air in the borough.

Community development funds

First on the agenda, the council discussed Honedale’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the next three years with Robbin Morgan. Morgan explained that the PA Department of Community and Economic Development requires that 70 percent of each entitlement grant must be used for activities that benefit low- to moderate-income people. Since a majority of residents in the borough fall into this category, said that the borough has a wide range of projects available to pursue.

“There are five block groups in Honesdale Borough; every single one of them [has at least 51 percent low- to moderate-income population],” she said. “That leaves you to really do any project that you want.”

The council voted to accept the draft three-year plan for its CDBG funds, which will be available for public viewing and comment at a later date.

River access

Next, Molly Rodgers from the Wayne Pike Trails and Waterways Alliance Project asked for the borough’s support on a proposed river access site as part of its ongoing effort to build an interconnected trail system from Honesdale to Hawley along the Lackawaxen River. The alliance is hoping to build an access site near the CVS at the south end of town. Rodgers said it would include a walking trail, an ADA compliant access point, three parking places on existing pavement for kayakers and canoers and one new ADA-compliant parking spot.

“We’re really impacting the CVS property as little as physically possible,” Rodgers said, adding that the pharmacy has not yet approved the plan.

Rodgers said that the alliance is planning on applying for a PA Fish & Boat Commission grant to build this access site, and asked the borough act as the municipal entity applying for the grant, noting that she isn’t asking the borough for any money and promising to minimize the amount of work involved in the grant-writing process.

Council president Mike Augello said his main concern was whether the alliance would ever get a response from CVS—which is a tenant, not an owner of the land—saying that the borough has gotten no response from the company in the past. Rodgers said that the alliance is working on that. The council voted unanimously to apply for the grant on the alliance’s behalf.

Parking

Councilor Jim Brennan brought up concerns he’s had for years about a riverbank alongside 12th Street between Church Street and the Lackawaxen River, where residents frequently park. He said that it should be banned. Parking would not be banned on the bank between Church Street and Main Street, where there are currently parking meters and a guard rail.

“Number one, it’s a safety issue: If a car were ever to go over that bank, they could sue the borough for having a parking lot with no safety factors involved,” he said. “The second reason is [aesthetic].” Brennan said that the borough cannot mow the grass on that bank because the cars are there so often.

Councilor Jim Jennings wondered if the grassy area could be turned into a park. Councilor Jason Newbon, the parking committee chair, agreed that the area is a safety hazard, but wondered if instead of banning parking, the borough could capitalize on the area by installing meters or charging a monthly fee to park there.

“I don’t think that we should be providing parking for those 10 or 12 cars along the river when we don’t provide parking for the bulk of the residents in the borough,” Brennan said.

Brennan envisioned simply erecting no parking signs on the bank. Borough manager/secretary Judy Poltanis and solicitor Richard Henry said that it will likely not be that simple, however, and that the borough ordinance will have to be changed. The solicitor said that the borough can begin flagging the cars that park there to let the drivers know that parking will soon be banned in that area. The council voted to direct Henry to do further research into the issue.

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