|Posted by haroldkitching on February 8, 2013 at 1:45 AM|
You’ll find Thursday night’s agenda package at http://www.casagrandeaz.gov/web/guest/pcagenda. Clicking on DSA-13-00004 (in red) will bring up the full staff report, including the present ordinance and the proposed changes.
On the face of it, it’s a small change. But it will simplify how handicapped parking spaces in Casa Grande are marked and will eventually help the Police Department in enforcement actions.
As explained Thursday night to the Planning and Zoning Commission, a survey by the Police Department found a variety of handicapped parking signs, many of which do not comply with the current city code.
Ironically, it was also found that the present city code requirements to not comply with standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The current ordinance requires that all signs “contain the following statements: International wheelchair symbol of accessibility, “Reserved Parking” and “Casa Grande Municipal Code 17.56.010 E.”
Many of the signs in the city do not contain all of that, especially the references to reserved parking and the city code section, leading to the proposed changes for simplification, Tice told the commission.
“Really, the only change here is one that the signage requirement is being changed to simply be a blue international symbol for the wheelchair,” he said. “We’re removing the requirement to put the words ‘reserved parking,’ we’re removing the requirement to put a reference back to this particular city code on the signs, as well.”
The height requirement will also be changed.
“The other thing we’re putting in there is removal of the height requirement that’s in the current code, which is three foot above grade, the bottom of the sign has to be a minimum of three foot above grade, with no more than five feet or six feet above grade,” Tice said.
“The proposed ordinance itself says that all new signs shall comply with the ADA signage requirements, which happens to be 60 inches above grade. Our current code did not comply with the ADA height requirement for these signs.”
Tice said that as the Police Department began evaluating its ability to enforce handicapped parking at both private and public areas, “what they found was that there’s a pretty good variety of different kinds of signage actually being used out in the community, much of which did not comply with our current signage requirements. So in simplifying our code, we bring a lot more of those existing signs into compliance.”
The commission unanimously decided to send a favorable recommendation to the City Council on the proposed changes.
“The other thing that will probably accompany this code when it goes to the City Council is a change in the code having to do with the parking enforcements,” Tice said.
“That’s not something under the Planning Commission’s jurisdiction or mine, but it’s a parking enforcement code which will likely modify the enforcement of the handicapped parking rules, authorize the Police Department to enforce people illegally parking, if you will, in handicapped parking areas within private property as well as within the public right of way.”
Chairman Norman Sam asked if the proposed changes will make it more difficult to enforce the regulations.
“It’ll make it easier,” Tice replied.
Tice also said that if the council approves the proposed parking changes, “there would be very few that are out of compliance, because all of them at least have the blue handicapped symbol, which is what this code requires. There may be a few that don’t have the space painted correctly or the sign applied correctly, but it’ll be a much smaller number than we have today.”
In other action Thursday night, the commission approved a conditional use permit for a mobile home to be used as a caretaker’s residence at the Ed Hooper Rodeo Grounds at Pinal Avenue and Rodeo Road.