Possible city ordinance requires parking permits off campus


By IAN LACK Reporter

A bill was discussed at the Jan. 10 Brookings City Council meeting that would require permits for cars parked on residential streets surrounding South Dakota State campus. After discussion, the council referred the bill to the University Campus Coalition (UCC).

Keith Corbett, deputy mayor of Brookings, said off-street parking was an issue former Mayor Tim Reed was passionate about reforming and wanted to see discussed during his time as mayor.

Council member Nick Wendell and City Manager Jeff Weldon appeared at a Students’ Association meeting in December to speak about the issue, voicing concerns for residents surrounding the university about an excess of cars on residential streets.

Corbett will bring the issue to the next UCC meeting and report to the City Council on the issue.

“We don’t have prices determined yet but we’re looking at everything from $30 to $100 or no cost at all,” Corbett said. “We’re looking to model these permits off of other cities and what they’re doing. But, above all, we want to try to make this revenue-neutral for the city.”

Corbett said the Council estimates a $5,400 cost for parking permit distribution as well as signs. It was also proposed that two permits be provided for every residence in the affected areas.

Two zones for permit requirements have been proposed, one to the west and one to the south of campus grounds.

The bill would require the approval of 75 percent of the residents within the planned permit areas.

Graduate SA Sen. Semehar Ghebrekidan said she is concerned about how this bill will affect lower-income students whose only affordable option is street parking.

“I would like to see them take a conscious effort to think about the people who don’t have enough income to buy a permit,” Ghebrekidan said. “There’s also a lot of situations where people could have friends over at their places off-campus and times where parking is just too full on campus, like during Hobo Day and the Pub Crawl.”

Cindy Moen is a resident living on 8th Street and said she empathizes with students who choose to park in residential neighborhoods.

“I worked at the college and I know where they’re coming from. It’s expensive – parking at the college,” Moen said. “My husband and I both agree that [the students] should be able to park here. It’s a free world and parking’s never been an issue for us here.”

Ally Helms, senior pharmacy major and president of SA, said she met with former Mayor Reed at the end of October to discuss, among other issues, parking.

“SA has not taken an official stance on this, but I’m happy to see this go through the UCC where we can see more research behind this and hear from community members who are upset about parking,” Helms said. “At this time, I don’t see this program as being a viable option for Brookings until it comes back from the committee.”

Ten community leaders will be commissioned for the UCC task force. These leaders will include the city manager, police chief, vice president of Student Affairs and SA president.

Corbett said he is eager to begin work on this issue with UCC and report back to the Council.