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Council OKs code changes on parking, auto repairs

Gresham city councilors removed one element of proposed code changes for further review but approved the rest of them on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

It's the second time councilors have responded to resident concerns about the suggested code changes by taking more time to hammer out solutions.

The approved code changes affect how long residents can park a vehicle in front of their homes, as well as limits auto repairs taking place on residential property.

Councilors were poised to approve a second reading of the 2011 code review on Oct. 4, to take effect on Nov. 3. Instead, citing citizen criticisms, Mayor Shane Bemis asked that the matter be postponed so staff could make changes.

In a similar move, councilors on Tuesday, Nov. 1, omitted a subsection of the proposed code changes after hearing from a resident who questioned how he could continue to legally park his recreational vehicle at his home under the new code.

'I just think it's too important of an issue on both sides,' Bemis said regarding the section addressing vehicles, including recreational vehicles, and where they can be parked on private property. Neighbors don't want to look at unsightly trailers or recreational vehicles, but residents have a right to own and store them, he said.

The omitted code would have required vehicles be stored behind a sight-obscuring fence if parked on a side or back yard - but only on corner lots because yards on corner lots, and what is parked in them, are visible from adjacent streets.

Now, the council has asked staff to finesse the code to highlight its intent - to screen vehicles from view - without necessarily requiring a fence.

Under the approved code changes, citizens can now park in their yards temporarily to load or unload property for things such as home improvement projects. They also can continue to repair vehicles on private property, but for no more than two days within a seven-day period.

Residents can park on the street at an address where the vehicle is not registered for 72 hours, an increase from the previous 24-hour limit. Staff removed a proposed 30-day limit for on-street parking of vehicles registered to an adjacent house.

The approved code changes will take effect Thursday, Dec. 1.