At the Casper City Council meeting on Tuesday, after several community members came forward to speak out against a parking permit requirement, the council established June 7 as the hearing date for the first reading for parking permits on 15th Street.

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The issue pertains to changes to the Casper municipal code that forbids people from parking on the sidewalk within city property along the parkway.

The city has been trialing a permit for the past year that people can purchase for $250 for the first year and $50 for each future year if someone wants to park on 12th and 13th Street between McKinely Street and CY Avenue.

City manager Carter Napier said that throughout the pilot program, only two people participated, leading to the city getting $500 from people paying for those permits.

Six people came forward to speak at Tuesday's meeting to complain about the issue, including Chad Lore who lives on 15th Street and said it is unfair and would be too costly for the city to continue with the permitting process.

"I was recently told by a city official not to worry, that I could apply for an application that possibly would allow me to park in front of my own house again, all I would need to do would be to fork up some dough," Lore said. "Now that is fine for someone new moving into the neighborhood, but for those of us who've lived here for most of our lives, it smells. It smells like a dead fish. Smells like extortion. You are profiting off my family's safety."

Councilmember Amber Pollock said that the point of the program is to find out what the community thinks of the issue so that the city has a better idea for when they fully implement the program.

"What the ordinance we're trying to amend right now is, we're not trying to prohibit, we're actually trying to provide a solution for the issue you all have just brought to us, which is to expand the program citywide," Pollock said. "I understand that there might be some disagreements about where we set the fees. I did ask at the last work session that they be lowered because we only had a couple of people participate on the 12th and 13th pilot, and to me that made me wonder if the cost was a barrier, and was something that we could try to reduce while still understanding that there are man-hours necessary to go out, look at these areas, to make sure there's not going to be safety hazards, traffic concerns, etcetera."

Pollock said that the council is also considering lowering the permit to $100 for the first year and $25 for each future year, which councilmember Kyle Gamroth said would mean the city would be operating the permit process at a loss due to the cost of having city staff administer the permitting process.

Gamroth said at the end of the meeting that he looks forward to seeing all the people that came on Tuesday at the three readings they will have over the next six weeks.

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