Council bans late night parking on North Willow

Katie Alberti

Partygoers on North Willow Street will have to find a new place to park at night.

Last week, Kent City Council passed a law prohibiting parking on the section of North Willow Street between Crain Avenue and Lake Street from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Councilwoman Beth Oswitch, who lives on North Willow Street, said the issue came about when residents brought it up to council.

Oswitch said the complaints on her street started at the end of the Spring 2006 semester when several end-of-the-year parties were taking place throughout the city.

“People were throwing up in our yards, peeing, swearing,” she said. “The average resident doesn’t want that. The neighborhood feels like they paid a lot for their homes and having someone renting and throwing up in their yards is unacceptable.”

In November, City Council began discussing the issue and its impact on the community.

Camille Park, a North Willow Street resident, said she complained to council about the situation because it was cutting into her personal time.

She said college students on the street would sometimes “have the entire street parked end to end,” and students were “inebriated and acting like it was a sporting event or something.”

Park said her reasoning for the students’ behavior is they are negligent of their actions and its impact on their neighbors.

“I think they just don’t realize how disturbing it is,” she said. “It made me want to leave the neighborhood.”

Jeanie Vanard, who lives on North Willow Street, said she also complained about the parking situation because students were being disrespectful.

Because of the complaints, William Lillich, director of public safety, said the decision to prohibit parking was made.

“Generally, a lot of the neighborhood parking issues are driven by the needs and desires of the neighborhood,” he explained. “(City) council is sensitive to these things.”

Lillich said as soon as “no parking” signs are placed on the street, parking tickets will be distributed to anyone who parks there overnight.

Although Oswitch said she can’t stop students from having parties, she hopes they will be more respectful to their neighbors.

“I don’t want college kids to think we’re taking away their parties,” she said. “Just be considerate to neighbors. We have to try to work together and find that common ground. I don’t care if you have a party, but don’t disrespect the 80-year-old woman next door.”

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