By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Two-hour parking signs will not be making their way back into Havre's downtown anytime soon.
On Monday night the Streets and Sidewalks Committee of the Havre City Council unanimously rejected the request of a local businessman to post the signs on the south side of Fourth Street between Third and Fourth avenues.
On March 17 the City Council had voted to send the matter back to the committee for review, after LeRoy Wenz, owner of Havre Montana Realty, pointed out an ordinance still on the books limiting parking to two hours downtown.
Two-hour parking signs were posted in the downtown area until the City Council decided to take the signs down about eight years ago at the request of local business owners.
In February Wenz wrote a letter to the council complaining that people doing business at the Hill County Courthouse were using the parking lot shared by Havre Montana Realty and Edward Jones Investments.
Wenz's request was met with objections by several of the people present.
Havre Police Chief Kevin Olson told the committee on Monday that the ordinance is not really enforceable.
"It would be kind of a nightmare to police it," agreed Dave Peterson, Havre public works director.
"I'm just afraid that if you did post signs in that way, you'd push (courthouse) employees into another area and create another problem," committee chair Gary Schubert said.
"There's this misconception that the signs will solve the problem, but it won't solve the problem," Olson said, adding that they would just lead to finger-pointing.
Olson said his department would have to rely on businesses to report vehicles that had been in a spot more than two hours. That, he said, could lead to backlash against business owners. He also said people could easily buck the rule by moving their vehicle up two feet after an hour and 55 minutes.
Wenz acknowledged that the situation has improved over the last few weeks because some county employees have opted to park a block or two away from the courthouse in the mornings. He said he would not call the police to report cars that had been in the same spot for more than two hours.
"I'm not going to do that. I believe it should be left with the city," Wenz said.
"I appreciate that the employees over there are much more cognizant and much more understanding about where they park," Wenz said after the meeting. "It'll be alleviated. It'll be just fine the way it is."