City Council Update, June 17, 2024

City Council Update, June 17, 2024

Council approved budget amendments and new apartments on Coolidge at Columbia. The overnight parking ban remains, but changes are being proposed to get more cars off the road while providing relief for true hardships.

Budget Items

Council passed the final budget amendment for the fiscal year (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024). 

We also discussed how internal services are calculated. Since 2017, the city has been using a commonly accepted method for this calculation that has passed every audit. 

The Columbia Apartments

The apartments on Coolidge between Cambridge and Columbia were approved. The bridge has been removed, but the size and height of the building is otherwise close to what was originally proposed. 


The overnight parking ban remains, but changes are being proposed to get more cars off the road while providing relief for true hardships.

Right now, there are about 150 cars on the street every night. We do not have enough officers on duty to write that many tickets in a single evening. And calls for life and safety always take precedence over writing parking tickets.

If you want fewer cars on the street, leaving the current system in place will not help the situation. 

With that in mind, staff presented several recommendations which Council discussed in depth. 

The non-controversial changes (for most people) include:

  • Increasing parking fines to $50 per offense. This matches our neighboring communities and will be a much bigger deterrent to get cars off the streets. 
  • Limiting the number of free overnight passes to 15 per license plate per year. Some people currently abuse the system and use the passes to park on the street for extended periods of time. Often they have room in their driveway and are just trying to avoid shuffling cars.
  • Creating an online portal for obtaining an overnight pass. This saves time both for those getting a permit and for public safety.
  • Allowing cars abandoned for more than 48 hours to be towed.
  • Changing the no parking hours to 2 am to 5 am. Currently, the ban runs through 6 am, but this is challenging for many early shift workers. 
  • Being able to enforce temporary no parking zones. For example, we may start requiring all cars be off the street in certain sections of the city during leaf collection. This will make sure everyone's leaves get collected and the process is faster and thus cheaper.

However, Council believes that for a small number of people hardship conditions exist that may warrant an annual on-street parking pass. We directed staff to continue to investigate a pass, with the following conditions:

  • Passes are for hardship cases only. They are not for just anyone to get. 
  • Only homes and duplexes may get a pass. They are not available to apartment residents.

The questions that remain to be answered are:

  • What defines a hardship? For me, a hardship is a home, usually a corner lot, that literally has room for only one car (though a garage full of stuff does not create a hardship). This allows such a house to be on equal footing with the vast majority of homes in Berkley that have at least two parking spots.
  • Should there be a cap on the number of permits? I'm in favor of a cap so we can start slow, learn, not overwhelm staff, and increase it only after careful consideration.
  • What should the fee be? $300 has been proposed, but many are in favor of a much larger fee. I see the fee as a tool to control demand, and if we narrowly define what a hardship is, we should not need a large fee. If the definition of a hardship is broad, I'd want a very large fee around $1,000.

A proposal from staff on permits is expected for our July 22 meeting. I asked that if possible this be made available to the public before that time so we can gather additional public input. 

Final Notes

The passing of Gary Polk was announced. He was a long-time volunteer for the city and was the chair of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. His contributions over the years are truly appreciated and he will be missed. 


The meeting packet.