Shadyside Council re-examines handicap parking

SHADYSIDE – The village council of Shadyside is looking to send letters to residents who have handicap parking spaces to resubmit an application.

Council has had a problem with residents not reapplying and not alerting council that they no longer need the spot. There are currently about 35 parking spaces in the village of Shadyside said Councilwoman Connie Gross, who has done a survey of the number of handicap parking places that are currently located in the village of Shadyside.

The letter for a handicap parking space was under old business and brought to the table by Councilwoman Gross. Gross presented council with what her suggestion for a letter should look like.

“We had agreed, in previous meetings, to send a letter to all the individuals that have a handicap parking permit, that they are going to have to reapply,” said Gross, who drafted a letter for council to send out. “I also believe at this point since it’s a new year and since we are starting all over again with the handicap parking permits that we should once more bring the issue of the handicap permits back to the council for them to decide.”

Shadyside is one of the few, if not the only, village to give out handicap parking spots to residents. Other communities have not due to problems like this that Shadyside is now facing.

Village solicitor Thomas Ryncarz stated that in the letter where the requirements needed for a handicap parking spot should have a confirmation from a physician.

“If you are going to make this something that is going to have any teeth to it, then you should have required it to be confirmed by a physician,” said Ryncarz. “If you guys are going to be sending out this letter out, I’m pretty confident that this is going to ruffle a lot of feathers when this gets done.”

The draft of the current letter lists three requirements so far that have been defined as being reasonable for the need of a handicap parking spot. Those include the resident using leg braces, being confined to a wheel chair or being terminally ill.

“What I am trying to avoid is the people that live on a very crowded street that go to the doctor and get a handicap permit then come to us and say ‘I have a handicap permit. I want my parking place in front of my house,’ which is what has happened,” said Gross.

Mayor Bob Newhart, along with several members of council, agree that a yearly letter reminding residents that they need to reapply for a handicap parking permit should be sent out. A final draft of the letter to current residents with a handicap parking permit in front of his or her house will again be presented to council by Gross at the next meeting on Jan. 28, along with an example of an application for the resident to fill out. Council hopes to have the letter to residents out by Feb. 1.