by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
A public hearing was conducted during the regular Owosso City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5 regarding a proposed amendment to reduce the number of authorized leased parking spaces in downtown Owosso and Westown. The city hopes to eliminate these mandated spaces to free up more parking for customers of downtown merchants; particularly spaces oriented directly in front or near by to businesses. In short, the residential leased parking program administered through the city, allowing parking from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. to individuals with lease tags in their windows, has been restricting parking needed during the business day. On the other side of the issue, after 5 p.m. when the spots were no longer reserved, other people utilizing the spaces, forced lessees to park elsewhere, running the risk of receiving a ticket.
Owosso City Council members unanimously approved changing the city’s zoning ordinance to allow residents in downtown Owosso or Westown to park in any public lot they prefer with a parking tag hanging in the car window. The planning commission has concluded that previous “off-street parking” did not fully address the current needs of residents.