Responding to continuing homeowner complaints, the Oswego Village Board voted, 4-3, Sept. 7 to limit hours for on-street parking in the Prescott Mill subdivision, across Harvey Road from Oswego East High School.
Village President Troy Parlier cast the tie-breaking vote on the motion to limit on-street parking to between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on school days along the west side of Devoe Drive from northern Chapin Way to southern Chapin Way.
Seven signs will be placed along Devoe Drive reminding motorists of the parking restriction as a result of the board’s vote.
In a memo to the board, Police Chief Jeff Burgner said village police have received from complaints from Prescott Mill homeowners about Oswego East High School students parking on streets in the subdivision over the past five years.
The most frequent complaints have involved students parking along Chapin Way, Bennet Court, Townsend Drive and Devoe Drive, Burgner said.
The complaints have involved littering and vehicles being parked left wheel to curb, blocking mailboxes, blocking residents’ driveways, parking in front of fire hydrants, parking on the grass and parking less than 20 feet from intersections, Burgner said.
In July 2018, the board approved an ordinance restricting parking along Bennet Court, Townsend Drive and Chapin Way in the subdivision in an effort to address the parking issue.
“The village refrained from restricting parking on Devoe Drive or other streets in Prescott Mill in order to monitor the parking situation and determine if additional restrictions would be recommended,” Burgner said.
Before the start of the 2021-22 school year on Aug. 18, the OPD again was alerted by a resident with concerns about student parking, leading officers to monitor parking traffic in the area, specifically along Devoe Drive between the two intersections of Chapin Way.
“Staff has noticed a large number of vehicles parking on Devoe Drive between the two Chapin Way intersections,” Burgner wrote. “The police department has issued numerous ordinance tickets for parking violations for various violations. The village continues to receive parking complaints from community members that either live or travel through Prescott Mill subdivision.”
Nathan Brown, a Prescott Mill resident and member of the subdivision’s homeowners association, urged the board to adopt stricter parking restrictions to extend throughout the entire subdivision.
Brown told the board that he lives across the street from a park in the subdivision, giving him a “front-row seat” to the number of students parking in the neighborhood.
“As of Friday, there is now a line of cars Monday through Friday, beginning at 6 a.m. and sometimes staying as late as 7 p.m., parking bumper to bumper for 600 yards,” Brown said. “When I purchased my home eight years ago, I thought I was going to live across the street from a park, not a parking lot.”
Prescott Mill, Brown said, has become a “remote parking lot” for OEHS students, that grows larger year after year because “the school district refuses to address its severe parking shortage.”
Brown said the board’s previous decision to restrict parking in the subdivision “failed and failed miserably.”
The increase in student drivers has brought an increase in “excessive speeding, littering, cars parking in front of mail boxes, cars parking in front of and blocking driveways, cars parking in front of fire hydrants, cars parking in the middle of intersections, cars parking in crosswalks” and cars failing to stop for stop signs, coming close to striking Brown’s daughter and other children, he told the board.
“The list goes on and on,” he said.
Board members called the new parking restrictions a first step and called on the school board to address the issue.
“At what point could we potentially see if there is anything we could do with the school district,” board member James Marter Jr. asked. “Are they well within their legal requirements or is there certain things we could hold against them on that?
“Because this is very clearly ... kind of falls under their purview and their responsibility and because they seem to be willfully ignoring it. It’s causing issues for the neighboring neighborhood,” Marter said.
Board member Tom Guist asked if District 308 had ever addressed the parking situation.
Burgner said that the department has had conversations with the district over the past five years and previously suggested to the district that additional parking be constructed at the school.
“If they don’t have anywhere to park on the property, they’re going to go to the next best place,” Burgner said.
According to the OEHS website, only juniors and seniors can apply for parking passes in the current school year, because of a limited supply. Seniors who signed up to pay for a pass were given priority on a “first-submitted, first-assigned basis,” while juniors who applied were given the remaining spots through a lottery. A waiting list was created for any remaining juniors, to be allotted through a lottery system.
Permitted student drivers are required to park in the designated student lots in the east or west lots on the stadium side of the school and refrain from parking in special areas, including fire lanes, handicapped, staff, reserved and visitor’s parking spots.
Oswego School District 308 administrators did not return calls for comment in time for publication.