Town officials are hoping to control the number of vehicles – and illegal parking at rental homes – by possibly requiring parking permits for vehicles in town.
Especially targeted are properties rented to University of Connecticut students, who have caused headaches and traffic issues with cars parked on narrow streets and grassy patches during party weekends.
The plan would not encompass all rental properties in town and would mostly affect single-family dwelling units rented out to tenants.
“Parking certainly feels like the biggest issue with single-family homes,” said Mansfield Director of Planning Gregory Padick.
According to Padick, the same parking issues do not plague multi-family housing units. The proposals would not apply to larger apartment complexes.
They also do not apply to regular long-term residents in permanent homes throughout town.
He said there are two proposals being considered: one being a comprehensive parking plan and the other being mandatory parking permits for rental home tenants.
It has not been determined if they would be merged into a single policy.
Town Manager Matthew Hart said town officials are not only looking to curb parking problems in town, such as parking on narrow roads, but they hope to deal with the blight issues in town.
The proposals were brought up during Monday’s regular town-university relations committee meeting.
The subject came before both town and University of Connecticut officials because a high number of UConn students live in rented single-family dwellings off-campus.
These changes would specifically apply to them, even though they are temporary residents.
“We’re anticipating some property owners will not be happy with these changes,” said Padick.
Padick said the proposed parking plan would require landlords to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces – to be located on the property – and adhere to a cap in parking.
He said parking would only be permitted in parking areas approved by town officials. Parking in non-approved areas would be a violation.
If parking permits were created, there would be separate passes for property tenants and invited guests.
Padick said the parking plan was the easiest proposal to enforce, but town officials were still researching both options.
Committee member and Councilman Bruce Clouette said he thought these proposals might be beneficial to the town, but recommended they be researched further before enacting them.
“As we enact each level of control over housing, you have to accept an administrative (cost),” he said.
Passes would be purchased through town officials. Permit costs, who would administer and who would monitor those passes has not yet been determined.
Thomas Haggerty, UConn’s undergraduate student president and committee member, said he understood the need to control parking in town, but was concerned with the potential impact it would have on students.
He said he thought requiring landlords to have parking permits would result in increased rent for students living off-campus.
Hart agreed an increase is possible.
“Most landlords do pass those costs to their tenants,” he said.
Clouette said the proposals would help ensure all landlords and their tenants are adhering to town parking policies and would make all single-family dwellings equal.
“I think it will, in a sense, level the playing field a little more,” he said. “It is leveling the playing field of units that don’t meet expectations.”
Padick emphasized the two concepts are in the proposal stage and have not been finalized.
He said he hopes the proposals would be completed and presented to residents by the end of the calendar year.