Oswego will allow non-Oswego residents to buy school parking permits

Oswego School District 308 is investigating acts of vandalism that occurred at Oswego East High School Wednesday night, including racial slurs written on the school grounds.

Oswego village trustees are moving ahead with a plan to allow non-Oswego residents to buy school parking permits.

Last year, the Village Board approved an ordinance which limits on-street parking during school hours in specified zones but allows parking permits to be bought by Oswego residents who don’t live in the specified zone.

There are five zones. Zone 1 is Prescott Mill, Zone 2 is Ogden Falls, Zone 3 is Ogden Falls/Brighton Meadows, Zone 4 is Churchill Club and Zone 5 is Steeplechase.

At the Sept. 5 Oswego Village Board meeting, the majority of trustees voted to approve amending the village’s ordinance to allow five of the 25 permits for each zone to be bought by non-Oswego residents. However, the non-Oswego resident permits will only be made available to students, or the parents/guardians of students attending Oswego East High School.

Village Trustee Tom Guist voted “no.”

“I think everyone would agree, including the school district, that ideally an additional lot would be the perfect solution,” Guist said before his vote. “I personally feel this approach is a little bit of a band-aid to something that’s maybe looking for a more permanent solution.”

He made a motion to table discussion on the proposal for two weeks until the Village Board learns more about the district’s plans to build an additional parking lot at Oswego East.

“I think there’s the possibility of discussing this with them and coming up with a solution that is more permanent, that fills the need for everyone, including Prescott Mill,” Guist said.

Village President Ryan Kauffman said he agreed with most of Guist’s comments.

“We know it’s not a permanent solution,” he said. ”I have reached out to Prescott Mill and there is support for this. … And I love Prescott Mill. I used to live there for 10 years. So I don’t think we’re losing sight of the interests of the residents of Prescott Mill. But we are trying to find a solution to an issue.”

Village Trustee Karen Novy said it was important to vote on the proposal sooner rather than later.

“I think we should vote on it tonight so the kids who need it can take advantage of it,” she said.

Guist’s motion died for lack of a second. Village Administrator Dan Di Santo said he spoke briefly to the Oswego School superintendent and that there are plans to meet with school officials.

The issue was first discussed at the Aug. 22 Oswego Village Board meeting. Permits cost $400 per year and each zone has a limit of 25 permits available.

“Last school year, Zone 1 was the only zone that sold any permits,” Oswego interim Police Chief Jason Bastin told village trustees.

Eight permits were bought for Zone 1. Three permits have been bought for Zone 1 so far this school year, he said.

No permits were bought for any other zones.

Staff has received about five requests to buy a zone permit from Oswego School District 308 parents who live outside the village, but whose children attend Oswego East High School.

“The reason for the request is based on their child being denied a parking permit on school property, but having before or after school activities in which they need to drive themselves or a sibling,” Bastin said.

Village trustee Kit Kuhrt had suggested making five permits available per zone to non-residents. Bastin said that about 30% of Oswego East students live in Oswego.