Council to consider removal of 30-minute time limits on parking near courthouse

A proposed ordinance that would remove the 30-minute time limit from parking spaces on Barraque Street around the Jefferson County Courthouse will be considered Monday by the Pine Bluff City Council.

Up for a second reading, the measure is sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Glen Brown and would remove the time limit along Barraque Street from the intersection with Main Street one block to the intersection with Pine Street.

“Not that many people come downtown anymore and there is plenty of parking in the area with the courthouse having two parking lots,” Brown said Friday. “The 30-minute parking restriction is unnecessary. We did away with the parking meters years ago and now it’s time to do the same with the time limits.”

Brown said that there was a connection between this proposal and the ordinance passed by the council in a contentious May 12 called meeting that allows people to park vehicles along this one-block stretch of Barraque Street for the purpose of displaying campaign signs.

“It does make a difference when people are campaigning,” Brown said. “We don’t want to have people trying to campaign being harassed by this law.”

Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth cited the time limit as part of her objection to the ordinance passed at the May 12 meeting.

“Right now we have people who are parking in the 30-minute parking spaces across from the Jefferson County Courthouse who are leaving vehicles with campaign signs on them for up to two weeks,” Hollingsworth said during the May 12 meeting. “Those spaces are for the use of the public to be able to conduct their courthouse business in an expeditious manner. Just because a law hasn’t been enforced in the past doesn’t mean that it should be broken.

“I think it’s disrespectful to the citizens to park in spaces reserved for them and it is the elderly who are suffering,” Hollingsworth said at the time. “These spaces are not reserved for political candidates.”

Brown disagreed.

“It’s not about the parking but about a violation of the right to assemble,” Brown said at the May 12 meeting. “It is your constitutional right to assemble. Parking has never been a problem at the courthouse. The people enforcing this law now did not enforce it in the past.”

The Brown ordinance calls for no time limit along this stretch of road unless a vehicle parked there is determine to be abandoned, junked or inoperable.

Image promotion

The council will consider a proposed ordinance — up for its third and final reading — that would approve a contract with Opinion Research of Little Rock to conduct research into attitudes of residents in the region that will be used in the Pine Bluff Image Campaign.

The ordinance is sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Bill Brumett. The contract is not to exceed $20,000.

Sewer extension

A proposed resolution cosponsored by Brumett, Alderman George Stepps and Alderman Steven Mays would authorize the extension of sanitary sewer lines along both sides of U. S. Highway 63 from Ridgway Road to Highpoint.

The resolution calls for the appropriation of $399,557 from the five-eighth cent sales tax.

In other business, the council will consider:

- A proposed ordinance, up for its second reading, that would prohibit the wearing of sagging pants that show three or more inches of underwear.

- A proposed ordinance, up for its second reading, that would amend city code to increase the valuation at which a permit fee is required from $100 to $500 and to increase the amount over which a fee of $15 will be charged from $100 to $500.

- A proposed ordinance, up for its first reading, that would designate three existing truck routes in the vicinity of the Jefferson County Industrial Park to be designated as permissible routes for trucks hauling logs, chips and rock.

- And a proposed ordinance, up for its first reading, that would amend the job description for the position of assistant chief of police requiring that nobody may be promoted to assistant or deputy chief who does not hold the rank of captain or the equivalent.