By Deb Murphy
It all started with an Airstream parked on Whitney Portal Road in Lone Pine selling outdoor gear. It may have ended at Tuesday’s Inyo County Board of Supervisors’ meeting with a parking ordinance addressing specific issues in both Lone Pine and Independence.
A very brief background: The Airstream, Mt. Whitney Gear, was parked, long-term, on Whitney Portal Road at the U.S. Highway 395 intersection. People complained. Fifth District Supervisor Matt Kingsley leapt into action. Trying to update the County’s peddling ordinances or creating mobile vendor ordinances was not an immediate solution. Deputy County Counsel Terry Walker explained parking restrictions could be put in place if public safety was an issue. Everyone agreed, safety was an issue. Everyone also agreed, a very specific ordinance could be put in place as no one wanted to start restricting parking, carte blanc, in Inyo communities.
The ordinances are additions to existing County codes and only impact County right-of-ways, not Hwy, 395.
First, Lone Pine: Vehicles cannot be parked within 100-feet of the intersections of East and West Post streets, Whitney Portal Road or East and West Willow streets and 395 for more than four hours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.. Those vehicles can’t be moved and then return to those areas until after 6 p.m. Also, vehicles seven-feet or more in height can’t park within 100-feet of those intersections between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Other intersections can be added by resolution.
Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce Director Kathleen New questioned how all that was going to be put on a sign.
Next, Independence: Fourth District Supervisor Mark Tillemans managed to sooth a long-festering Independence wound by adding an ordinance that banned commercial trucks, weighing 10,000 lbs. or more, from parking in specified residential areas from 2 to 6 a.m. The restricted area includes West Park Street from Edwards to South Washington Street and South Washington Street to West Citrus Street.
What about enforcement? According to County Counsel Marshall Rudolph, while enforcement is important to consider, it’s not necessary to address that issue when approving an ordinance. The assumption: if a violation is egregious, it will elicit complaints and be dealt with.
The ordinances go into effect August 10, 30 days from approval. With any luck, the other shoe of unintended consequences will not drop and this will be the end of one long, strange trip.