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Reserved parking area for county employees at downtown courthouse being considered

Washington County Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford is taking another stab at getting reserved parking spaces for county employees at the downtown courthouse.
“Other municipalities have designated parking spaces,” Rutherford said during the April 3 meeting of the County-Owned Property Committee. “My employees’ time is worth more in the office.”
Rutherford said his employees often have to leave the office for work-related reasons, but are unable to find a parking space when they return to the courthouse.
Four zones of parking areas around the courthouse have been identified.
Designating parking for use by county employees and county-owned vehicles also would increase the number of parking spaces for the general public, Rutherford added.
“We need to remind the public that they are parking closer than we are,” he said.
A poll of the courthouse employees indicates 67 spaces are needed on a daily basis. An additional 14 county-owned vehicles are stored on the lot every night.
“The only things I see you need to fund are striping, restriction signs, and parking permit stickers for employees who will be ticketed if not parking in the right space,” Rutherford said.
County Attorney John Rambo said an Americans with Disabilities analysis will have to be completed to ensure enough spaces are available for handicapped employees.
“It’s required whether you have handicapped employees or not, and based on a percentage,” he said.
Commissioner Mark Ferguson made a motion for Rambo to draft a resolution for a parking plan that can be tweaked. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Alpha Bridger and passed unanimously.
Rambo said the spaces could be numbered, with each employee being assigned a specific space.
But Rutherford said employees would argue over the distance from the space to the courthouse. “We’re breaking a 25-year tradition of parking close,” he said.
Rutherford led the charge for an earlier resolution for employee parking that was considered by the county commission during the October 2012 meeting. Commissioners unanimously voted to defer a decision and refer the topic to the Public Works and Planning Committee.