Marquette considers stiffening fines for parking violations

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

The Marquette Council is considering stiffening fines for parking violations in the city—particularly when people park on the dike.

“This came up because, during a busy holiday, if you go down to the marina, the dike is parked full of vehicles and trailers. They’re parked right in front of the sign that says ‘no parking on the dike,’” said mayor Steve Weipert at the council’s Oct. 13 meeting. “They’re not allowed to park there because it protects the city, and you can’t be digging it up.”

It also poses additional safety concerns. If vehicles are parked on the dike, others can’t back into open parking spaces, and there’s not enough room to back out of occupied spaces.

The fine, though, is just $15.

“It definitely has to be raised,” said Weipert. “No offense, but if you can’t find a parking spot and you can find one there for $15, you’re a very happy person. $15 isn’t going to keep people from parking there.”

In fact, according to Mar-Mac Police Chief Robert Millin, that amount doesn’t even cover the time spent writing the ticket and attempting to collect payment.

While the council is looking at raising regular parking violations around town from $15 to $25, members advocated for a $100 fine for parking on the dike. That’s the same amount assessed if an individual parks in the permit-only spaces on the north side of the riverfront.

Councilman Ryan Young even wondered about making the dike a tow-away zone. 

“It’s going to be about a $200 fine by the time they pay for towing,” he noted. “I bet they only do it once, especially if they have a boat trailer.”

“I think you’re going to make a bigger statement if you have a tow-away zone,” agreed councilwoman Liz Gilman.

Weipert felt the city should wait before taking that step, though. 

“I’d like to see $100 and they don’t get towed. Put a sign up and have it be enforced,” he said. “If that doesn’t work, then change it from there.”

The council agreed and will consider acting on the changes at an upcoming meeting.

RFPs sought for senior housing project

The city is requesting proposals for a senior housing project in Marquette. The council voted to proceed with a project earlier this year which will be located between Gencor and the city shop/police station.

“We need to find someone who’d like to hop on and give a proposal for the project. Then it’s turning everything over to him, and he’ll be looking for grants,” Weipert said. “This isn’t any kind of commitment. It’s just for finding proposals, ideas for what people would like to put there.”

Instead of paying to have a design of what the city wants, Young said they’d like to see what investors are interested in. 

“They might recommend a 16-unit building or an 18-unit building, something we’re not necessarily set on. So it kind of breaks up that tunnel vision,” he explained. “If we find the right person and right RFP, then we can work with them and either deed the land over to them or whatever we have to do to see the right project come to Marquette.”

The city is requesting that RFPs be submitted by the end of December.

Animal ordinances approved

The council approved several ordinances related to animals in the community.

As previously explained by Weipert, “One is for if your animal gets out and it doesn’t cause any problems and it’s just out running around, then it’s an animal at large. You pay your fine and it’s done with. The other is if your animal gets out and is deemed to be vicious, then it’s going to be removed from the city and it goes to court. There is no more coming to the city council and asking us if it’s a vicious dog or not. The court system will determine that, and the dog will be out of the city the entire time.”

The third ordinance established a pet license for all city dog owners.

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