CORNELIUS – To celebrate the town board’s willingness to compromise about parking in the Harborside subdivision, Bob and Barbara Houck parked one of their cars on Harborside Drive on June 16 just because they could.
For months, the pair has been crusading to reverse a homeowner’s association ruling that banned parking on the neighborhood’s main drag for safety and aesthetics reasons. After attempting to let the residents of the 160 townhomes settle it for themselves, the town board stepped in to end the dispute.
With a vote of 4-1, commissioners agreed to restore limited parking to Harborside Drive with restrictions for safety, plus make Viewpoint Drive one-way to offer a flow of traffic that won’t have drivers’ sight impeded by on-street parking.
Commissioner David Gilroy cast the dissenting vote in the matter because it didn’t fall in line with the results of a neighborhood vote the board had recommended.
Only 40 percent of Harborside residents returned the ballot that was given through the neighborhood company Henderson Properties. Of those, 70 percent said they wanted to leave it with no parking on Harborside Drive. The remaining 30 percent said to add some parking back but were split on whether to make Viewpoint Drive one-way to do so. The results didn’t reflect the petition the Houcks previously submitted to the town signifying the majority wanted parking back.
Newly re-elected HOA president Michelle Crawford said she was disappointed so few people voted but understood the silent party doesn’t want anything to do with it.
Though both agreed the voting process was done as objectively as possible, commissioners John Bradford and Gilroy disagreed about what the results of the vote meant. Bradford worried that with only 40 percent responding, it didn’t fully represent the residents, while Gilroy said if they needed a quorum for every vote, none of the commissioners would be in office.
The crux of the matter, according to Bradford, is that 24 homes facing West Catawba Avenue are limited to parking only in their driveways while remaining residents have parking available to them on the side streets, so having parking on Harborside wouldn’t mean as much to them.
The new measure brings in an estimated 16 parking spots onto Harborside Drive.