BY REBECCA BENNETT — The Hyattsville City Council voted 8 to 3 to establish a residential parking committee at the Oct. 5 council meeting.  According to a city memo, “The committee shall conduct a review of the city’s current residential parking zone program, exploring gaps in service, needs, and best practices, with the intent of developing a set of recommendations for modifying the program in order to better serve parking needs in neighborhoods throughout the city.”

“The program as it is right now doesn’t function.  It isn’t meeting the needs of residents and it’s not meeting the needs of staff,” Assistant City Administrator Jim Chandler said during the Sept. 21 council discussion on the issue.  “I think anything where we’re able to get the conversation to a point where we’re ready to revamp and address some of the issues, I’m all for it.”

In January, city staff solicited feedback from the council and the code compliance committee about proposed changes to the residential parking program.

On Sept. 21, Council Vice President Bart Lawrence (Ward 1) said previous recommendations by city staff and by the code compliance committee would help inform this residential parking committee.

“One role of the committee would be to go out and learn about the various needs of these 11 zones, to look at what other cities are doing and really look at the best way we can get things to function effectively,” Lawrence said.

Councilmembers Paula Perry (Ward 4), Joseph Solomon (Ward 5) and Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5) voted no.

“We’ve addressed this many times. All you do is put a bandaid on it,” Perry said on Oct. 5.  “The root of the problem is that you have too many cars at one house.”

Frazier said the problem in Wards 4 and 5 is multiple families living in single family homes. “The parking problem is not going to be solved until we solve the root of the problem,” she said.

“The only way you can deal with it is — number one — stop the multi-family homes … or two — limit how many cars you can have at a house,” Perry said. “Then you’re dictating to people how they should live.”

Lawrence said that the recommendation of the Code Compliance Advisory Committee was to look at all 11 of the zones, and not just the ones in Wards 4.  He also said the cause of the parking problems was something the committee could look at.

Solomon said the council already solicited feedback from staff and the code compliance committee.  “Maybe it’s not another committee we need.  Maybe we [the council] need to address the issue ourselves.”

The residential parking committee charter will end 120 days after inception.