By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – When Kaweah Delta Exeter Health Care Clinic on the corner of San Juan and Crespi began their renovations and construction in the spring, patients and staff were forced to park on nearby streets. At the same time, packing houses on Rocky Hill Drive started to come back into production adding even more cars. All the while, school was still in session before the summer break. With the lack of parking, residents on Crespi became irate with the City of Exeter and Kaweah Delta claiming they were being “bad neighbors.”
As a result clinic director Dave Garnett, members of the City including a city council member met with residents to determine a compromise. Garnett said that his staff would make efforts to not park on the street in front of houses and they would incorporate more onsite parking to alleviate any future parking issues when construction is complete. Since then, Kaweah Delta has been parking on Exeter Unified School District (EUSD) property and avoided parking on Crespi. But still residents claim that the problem persists and as a result they started putting signs in their front yards that say “Save Our Neighborhood Resident Parking Only.”
Even further Exeter city manager Randy Groom said that police have been called to address the behavior of residents in response to people parking on the street in front of their house. Groom also said that resident’s have left flyers on cars about street parking. He added that parking on the street in Exeter is legal provided that it is not a painted curb.
Concerns came to a head last Tuesday night, Aug. 22, at the Exeter City Council meeting when Randy Featherston, a resident on Crespi said that the situation is crazy, chaotic and there are wall-to-wall cars. As a remedy residents who live on Crespi argued for permit parking. Groom said in a later interview that permitted parking is in the purview of the City Council but there are inherent setbacks in the system. From the City’s perspective it is something they would have to enforce and devote resources to which would add expense to the City’s budget.
In response to residents’ complaints Groom presented a slide show of random points in time where he took pictures of Crespi’s parking situation. Over the course of six weeks, aside from resident cars, there was not unusually impacted parking on the residential side of the street. Groom did concede that there may be times when the street is impacted but they have not been when he has gone by. He addressed as well the concerns of residents who have had cars parked at the foot of their driveway blocking them in. Which Groom said they should call the police because that is illegal.
As for the signs, Groom said that residents may be in violation of the City’s sign ordinance because it is reasonable to conclude that only residents can park on that part of the street.
“The average person would say ‘oh I can’t park there.’ You’re not the City you can’t make those rules,” Groom said. “Anyone can park there for any reason.”
The full council agreed to revisit the item after construction on the clinic is done to see what kind of impact is left.