HYATTSVILLE – With the possibility of a new residential parking zone on 41st Avenue, and Farragut and Gallatin streets, tensions are rising between homeowners and apartment dwellers in the city of Hyattsville. Last week, the Hyattsville City Council held a public hearing on the possible addition of residential parking zones in an area of Hyattsville […]
HYATTSVILLE – With the possibility of a new residential parking zone on 41st Avenue, and Farragut and Gallatin streets, tensions are rising between homeowners and apartment dwellers in the city of Hyattsville.
Last week, the Hyattsville City Council held a public hearing on the possible addition of residential parking zones in an area of Hyattsville where residents gathered enough signatures to file a petition.
Twenty-two residents from 13 addresses signed a petition in early April to have the city consider designating a portion of 41st Avenue, the 4100 block of Farragut and the 4100 block of Gallatin streets, as requiring residential parking permits at all times, meaning no one can park on those streets without a purchased or visitor’s parking pass.
“Due to the overwhelming increase in the number of vehicles accessing the Top of the Park apartment complex, Justice Center visitors and (Route) One business customers, parking spaces for the homeowners on these streets have been greatly reduced, and the amount of litter left behind by such non-residents has increased significantly,” the petition reads.
The petition continues on to list numerous complaints about the parking availability in the neighborhood, potential dangers of crowded streets and trash allegedly left behind by non-homeowners.
Although the petition includes Gallatin Street, not a single resident of that street signed the petition, which was a complaint, among many, of residents at the public hearing last week.
Marialis Zmuda, who lives on Gallatin, said it was a surprise to her that her street was included in the petition and said she hasn’t heard any interest from her neighbors in creating a residential parking zone.
“This was a complete surprise to see this, to see that we were included in this. I ask that we be removed,” Zmuda said.
At the public hearing, residents filled the council chambers to oppose the possible residential parking zone. Residents from Top of the Park apartments came out in droves to voice their feelings of injustice if parking near the complex were to be restricted.
Sherry Wilder, who lives in the complex, said residents of Top of the Park already have few parking options, as two of the three sides of the complex have no street parking.
By creating a parking zone, the city would force apartment dwellers to park further into the neighborhoods, increasing the walking distance and time and creating safety hazards, Wilder said.
“When you’re thinking about restricting the parking, you’re talking about displacing your neighbors,” Wilder said.
The petition given to the city speaks of homeowner rights and hardships faced by homeowners, calling for only residents to be able to park on the streets, but many of the residents from Top of the Park, including Wilder, emphasized that although they live in apartments, they are residents as well.
Kia Murray, the property manager at Top of the Park and a resident of the complex, said the petition specifically pits homeowners against apartment residents and gives off the feeling that apartment dwellers are transient in the city – that they are less than homeowners.
But Murray said her residents are not transient and they’re not going anywhere.
“Some of these residents have been in my community for five, 10, 20 (years). The oldest term resident has lived at Top of the Park – August 17 will make 45 years she’s lived in the same apartment,” she said.
Murray emphasized that Top of the Park residents pay taxes, their children go to the same schools as home owners, take part in the same city activities and said they deserve the same rights and access as any other residents.
Despite numerous complaints from Top of the Park residents, Dennis Breen, the spouse of one of the petition writers and the only speaker in favor of the parking zone, said the petition writers had no intention of restricting apartment dwellers from parking.
“If the petition was poorly worded to imply that we thought the people living in the Top of the Park apartments were not residents of Hyattsville, well that was an error in writing, not the intention,” Breen said.
While Breen read statements from his neighbors who could not attend the meeting, he said the intention of the petition was to eliminate parking options for out of state, non-residents, which he said have been parking in the neighborhood.
The city is currently holding a study to assess the need for a residential parking zone in the area and the city administrator will submit a recommendation at the July 18 council meeting.