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North Irwin charges $10 fee for parking spots for those with disabilities

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

North Irwin officials plan to enforce an annual $10 fee for establishing and maintaining parking spots for those with disabilities throughout the borough.

Any resident requesting such a spot must provide proof of a disability and pay $10 to install a space. Each year, the resident must also provide proof of a disability and pay $10 per year to maintain the space, according to council president Kim Macalus.

Council approved the guidelines after a 6-0 vote.

Solicitor Luke Wilson said the annual fee will allow borough officials to keep track of each spot and determine its necessity.

“It will help us determine if someone moves, or passes away or becomes no longer disabled and no longer needs the space,” Wilson said. “Council is within its rights to review the applicant.”

The fee covers the cost of the sign, pole and labor to install it and mark the street, Macalus said.

Manager Adele Nehas estimated it costs the borough $85 to install a parking space for those with disabilities.

“If we don't put a price on it, people just don't care,” Nehas said.

North Irwin has seven parking spaces for those with disabilities throughout the borough and one loading zone, which is located near the Irwin Volunteer Fire Company station, according to Nehas.

If an applicant does not renew their application on a yearly basis, the sign will be removed, Macalus said.

Wilson suggested posting the penalties for parking in a spot for those with disabilities without the proper placard or license plate. Typically, municipalities impose a minimum fine of $275 and make the violators pay for any towing fees, he said.

Even though someone applies for such a spot, borough officials can decline their request, Wilson said.

“It's more of a ‘may' issue, than ‘must' issue, because there are several things the borough has to take into consideration,” Wilson said. “Council has to consider availability of off-street parking, the spot in relation to the applicant's home, and must require proof from the applicant of an actual handicap.”

Wilson said borough officials must make sure they enforce the fee for all special parking arrangements.

“We have to show even-handedness with the fee for loading zones and handicapped parking,” Wilson said. “If you charge a fee for one of them, you have to charge a fee for all of them.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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