Planners buck council, oppose gravel lots
Marion planning and zoning commission members Tuesday reviewed and rejected a resolution proposed by city council members that would add compacted gravel to the city’s accepted parking lot materials.
The commission earlier sent the council a draft of parking lot standards that required concrete, brick pavers, or asphalt to be used for parking areas, with possible exceptions for using gravel.
Under existing rules, commission member Darvin Markley said, only three or four parking stalls must be paved. The rest of a lot can be gravel.
“Hopefully the city council will understand why we want those stalls concreted,” Markley said.
Planning and zoning commission secretary Margo Yates said the commission wanted to make sure city regulations conformed to federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
“The city wanted to add gravel to the options, but the way it was written, it would have allowed all the lot to be gravel,” Yates said.
Exceptions would include residences on unpaved streets; industrial lots used primarily for parking of trucks and trailers and equipment not used by customers, employees, or visitors; lots used for storage of vehicles waiting for service; and lots used for vehicles and equipment sales that are not used by employees. If a property entrance is on a paved street, the driveway must be paved. Other requests for using gravel must be approved by the commission as a conditional use permit.
When the commission’s recommendation is again presented to the city council, a letter from Marion resident Joan Meyer will be included with it.
That letter states: “I am a lifelong resident of the city. I now am of an age when the risk of falling is considerable. I am not disabled, so I am not eligible to have access to handicap parking. However, I have found that gravel parking lots are very difficult to cross for people whose legs and balance are not as stable as they used to be.”
The letter continues that she now avoids going to several local businesses because they do not have paved parking.
“I think it would serve an important part of Marion’s population to make those businesses more competitive for attracting customers,” Meyer wrote.
Commission members also teleconferenced with Nebraska planning consultant Keith Marvin. The commission wants to hire Marvin Planning Consultants to work on revising the city’s comprehensive plan and planning and zoning regulations.
Commission members will seek city approval to hire Marvin.