Police chief says parking signage is against ordinance
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 417 Howertown Road, Catasauqua, has a sign designating a handicapped space for selected parishioners that is effective only on Sunday during services. This and another request from a local church for something similar are being rejected.
“The handicapped law we have is for residential parking. We cannot designate a space for a commercial property on a public street,” Police Chief Douglas Kish said during the Feb. 5 Catasauqua Borough Council meeting.
Anyone who has hiked past rows of empty handicapped spaces at a commercial property, like a mall, knows there are requirements for handicapped parking. The difference is the mall spaces are not on public streets.
Churches want to have a reserved space for handicapped parishioners who attend services. They do not want to restrict parking during the rest of the week. At St. Paul’s, there is a sign placed along the street for handicapped parking on Sundays only. The church paid for the sign and installed it. Kish says the signs, there is also one in the parking lot, need to come down because they are not permitted.
Handicapped spaces are only allowed at residential locations, and those residential spots on public streets are authorized by council with an ordinance.
Kish contends the church signs are confusing and would cause enforcement problems.
“If someone parks in the handicapped spot reserved by the church, then the police really can’t do anything,” Kish said.
Council did not resolve to take any action, but the request for handicapped parking was not acted on.
In a related matter, council approved a police contract that increases pay annually by about 3 percent. Council agreed to extend the contract to four years with a 4-plus-percent contract in the last year. Borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder asked council to consider the extension.
“It costs us money to negotiate the contracts. Getting an extension on the agreement will save those costs, which could be as much as the cost of the increase,” he said.
The borough is represented at the negotiating table by the borough manager and the solicitor.
In other action, council approved the purchase of additional playground equipment under a state grant program and additional Christmas decorations. The borough will also contribute $500 to Cedarbrook Sportsmen to assist with the cost of stocking trout in Catasauqua Creek.