Colmar Manor officials are weighing whether to require residential parking permits to park on town streets.
Council members said parking needs to be regulated in the town, because most streets only allow for parking on one side of the street and many residents have multiple vehicles and no driveway.
Police Chief Brian Gibson, who was tasked in November by the council with researching how other Maryland municipalities handle residential parking permits, said he suspects there are some “roaming homes” in the town, in which homeowners rent out unlicensed rooms. He also said he has heard that people from outside Colmar Manor are parking their vehicles during the day on streets and walking to a nearby Metro bus stop. Residential parking permits may help address such challenges, officials said.
“We need to do something to stem this parking situation,” said Mayor Michael E. Hale. “It is getting to a point right now where it is getting to be a hassle. People are calling to complain, because some people have three and five cars.”
Hale said he has heard of households with more than 10 vehicles, straining street parking, and knows of residents that park up to four blocks from their home because parking is so tight on their street.
The town has 425 households, and around 1,200 residents, Gibson said.
Officials have not worked out details regarding how the permit system would work, Gibson said, adding that he is unsure whether the town will charge for permits. He said it is likely the town will issue guest permits for visitors. Gibson said there is a large degree of variance in how municipalities run their parking permit programs.
Gibson said he does not have any preference as to what would be a good plan for the town at this point, although he said he thinks the town should provide colored stickers for residents to place on their vehicles that will be changed annually so law enforcement can easily identify who has an expired permit or does not have a permit at all.
“We’ve got to come up with some sort of game plan,” he said.
Edward Mutchler, 87, of Colmar Manor said he has a driveway but must park on the street when he has visitors, which has sometimes been difficult. Still, he thinks residential parking permits would be tough to enforce given that there are so many vehicles in the town.
Enforcement officers in the town officers include Gibson, four part-time officers, one full-time officer, and two public works staff.
“I think it will create more of a problem than what it is going to help,” said Mutchler, who was town mayor in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Town officials hope to discuss a potential plan for residential parking permits at their Jan. 8 meeting, Hale said.