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Wendy Reuer, Published July 22 2013

Moorhead approves free residential parking permits near college campuses

MOORHEAD – Residents who live near the two college campuses here will be allowed to obtain a permit if they want to park on the street near their home for more than three hours during the day.

The free permit allows residents to park all day where daytime parking on the street is limited to three hours.

The Moorhead City Council implemented the three-hour parking restrictions last year in congested areas near Concordia College and Moorhead State University. The council created three-hour parking limits from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 15 through May 15. The parking regulations had no exemptions for residents in that area who often park in front of their house.

On Monday, the council approved the first reading of a new residential permit policy by a 6-0 vote. Councilmen Luther Stueland and Steve Gehrtz were absent.

The permits would be limited to one per property and need to be renewed annually.

“We hope to have the permits available by Aug. 15,” said Community Services Director Scott Hutchins.

The permits do not provide exemptions to other citywide parking rules. Vehicles must also be moved after 48 hours. On any city street, a vehicle parked for more than 48 hours without being moved is considered abandoned and would be towed.

“The permit does you no good on the snow days and the maintenance days,” Police Chief David Ebinger said.

Ebinger – whose department will enforce the permit system – said officers will work with residents when they need guest parking such as during a special event at their home or in times of construction when more vehicles may need to be outside a home for a longer period of time.

“If people have a specific issue that comes up, we’ll try to work with them,” Ebinger said.

The portable permits need to be hung from rear-view mirrors. They are valid only in an area one to three blocks from the house where the permit is registered, Ebinger said.

Although the initial permits will be free, there will likely be a replacement fee of $25 for lost or stolen permits.

An initial printing of 500 permits is expected to cost the city $2,000.

Councilman Mike Hulett said Monday that the chief previously opposed to a residential parking permit system.

Ebinger said limiting the permit to one per building makes the system more manageable.

A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled at the council’s first meeting in August.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530