Councilman Terry Unsworth called it “an immediate problem in search of a long term solution.”
Monday night the Clear Lake City Council dealt with a business’ parking problems by approving a short term fix. On a 5-0 vote the group approved temporary parking on the north side of the 16th Avenue South public access
and boat ramp. The measure is intended to provide much-needed parking for The Landing, owned by Gary and Diane Laabs. The restaurant, which opened this summer, is part of the South Shore Inn, formerly known as The Heartland Inn.
Fourteen parking spots will be designated on the north side of the access, with no parking between midnight and 5 a.m. The gravel surface will be striped with paint to designate the parking spots and fronted with curb stops to prevent vehicles from encroaching onto the sidewalk. The parking spaces will be perpendicular to the access drive. The design for the parking was recommended to the Council by Jason Petersburg, an engineer with Veenstra & Kimm. The city had asked the engineering firm to assess the availability and safety of potential parking at the access.
Under the new ordinance, parking will only be allowed until Oct. 15, at which time the area will revert to no parking.
“The parking issue is nothing new… the bottom line is we have a problem and we need to fix it--maybe in the temporary-- more importantly in the long run. I will suggest compromising,” said Councilman Mike Callanan in advance of his motion on the issue.
Council members were receptive to Callanan’s idea of a temporary solution to provide additional parking on a temporary basis, but acknowledged the concerns raised by neighbors, sportsmen and the general public about the potential safety issues and infringement on public spaces.
Laura Yohn, a resident of the new Sweetwater Condominium located on the north side of the 16th Avenue South access, said parking will impede boat and trailer traffic at the access and could create stopped traffic on South Shore Drive. She claimed the popularity of The Landing has not suffered from the no parking designation at the access and patrons have found other places to park. “Private business owners need to provide for their own,” she said. “I don’t think the council should be bullied by a business owner who was short- sighted.”
Bill Yohn reminded the Council that city spent over $120,000 on improvements to the parking area across the street from the access in an effort to create better and more parking for boat trailers. “Ninety-degree parking is not compatible with backing a boat at this access, so it’s a safety issue.” The former Councilman also noted the city has made investments in water basins to filter run-off into the lake and he considers the 16th Avenue South access a logical spot for such a basin. Yohn added that developers and buyers of the condominiums on the north side of the access were clearly told no parking would be allowed on the access and he believes Laabs should have been told the same when he purchased