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Neighborhood permit parking under scrutiny
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It was last summer that the Ripon Police Department met with concerns residents of the neighborhood near the Stanislaus River
Folks in the area better known as the Ripon Bluffs had fears of criminal activity, being squeezed out by visitors due to the limited parking, possibility of vegetation fire, not to mention the overall condition of nearby Mavis Stouffer Park along the bike / pedestrian bridge at the Stanislaus River.
According to police Chief Ed Ormonde, usage of this city park in the southeast area adjacent to Highway 99 had spiked up dramatically in recent years due to “the free usage, easy access, and safety of the area,” he said in his report at the Aug. 9 Ripon City Council meeting.
A neighborhood committee was developed.
This gave police ongoing communications with the group – they conducted two informal meetings with the neighborhood residents while developing an ordinance.
The result of that was the start of the Residential Parking Permit Program in March by the Ripon Bluffs neighborhood.
Ormonde indicated a significant numbers of residents were interested in the plan yet not enough ‘yes’ ballots were returned for passage.
As a result, sections of the Ripon Bluffs requested re-votes.
Take the Reynolds Avenue residents, for one. In July 2015, they had enough votes to implement the Reynolds Avenue Parking Permit Program.
Residents of the 400 block of Meyenberg Avenue and McBrian Drive recently followed suit, requesting a re-vote for that particular area only.
That request also called for instituting a parking permit program but only between the start of the Memorial Day weekend throughout the Labor Day weekend.
Folks from this particular area managed to get two-third votes in support of the program and enough for passage.
Elected leaders have questioned the program.
“When we approved the process, I thought the parking permits were for all the time,” Councilman Leo Zuber said. “This is step one towards customized parking – I don’t agreed with it.”
Ditto that for Mayor Jake Parks. “The program was to help alleviate traffic in the area and by adding customized dates it could create more issues and take away time and resources from our police department,” he said.
The dates were presented on the ballot, Ormonde said.
He added: “The groups coming forward are from the areas that are most affected (by the concerns) and would’ve passed if they came forward originally as individual groups.”
Since then, another group has come forward. The 400 block of South Manley submitted a proposal and was scheduled to vote on the parking permit ordinance last week.
Council members did vote 5-0 in favor of the Meyerberg Avenue and McBrian Drive as a Residential Parking Permit-required area but with the caveat of a two-year implementation limit.
After that, they’ll be able to re-consider the ordinance.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail