'Shortest town meeting': Overnight parking ordinance rejected

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BRATTLEBORO — Voters overwhelmingly supported overturning an ordinance that would have created new rules on overnight parking downtown.

"There wasn't even any discussion," said Jack Dolan, who secured enough petitions to bring the matter to a vote on Tuesday at a special meeting. "I don't know, but I think in Wilmington history, it had to be one of the shortest town meetings ever."

Dolan moved to Wilmington in 1980. He had seen an article about the latest changes to an ordinance that would have caused some troubles for downtown business owners, employees and residents as certain lots would be restricted during late night/early morning hours. The hope had been to have a good window for snow removal.

While he does not live downtown, Dolan wanted to support the people who work or live there. They rely on those parking spaces, he said.

Dolan believes the town had allowed parking in those lots for the last 50 years.

"I just didn't want that suddenly taken away from them without some discussion about what some alternatives there may be for easier snow removal," he said. "Right now, we fall back to the old one [ordinance], where we were."

The lots have 24-hour limits on parking vehicles, Dolan said, adding that most people have respected that rule.

He said the meeting started at 7 p.m. and he was on his way home 10 minutes later.

A yes vote meant rejection of the ordinance.

Jessica DeFrancesco, town administrative assistant, said the Select Board will soon be approving a new ordinance.

"From what I understand, they're hoping to get together with the business owners and apartment owners downtown — the stakeholders as it was put — and the road foreman, and they're going to try to work something out," Dolan said. "That's all I'm hoping for."

He does not believe enough thought had been put into the ordinance before it was adopted.

"I think most people are being reasonable about this," he said. "I don't think there's any animosity around it at all."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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