Here, I noted that in some "older Ramsey" neighborhoods where lot-size is large, people park as they traditionally have without being in any way a burden or true nuisance to their neighbors.
But they have not brought in a contractor to pour concrete parking pads, either.
Nor, I suspect, would they want to do that or see any true need for it.
These voters are happy as they are.
At the recent Kiefer council candidates' single-white-van-parked-against-ordinance special council meeting a point of the ordinance's reach was that it applies when properties are within, not outside of the City's "MUSA areas."
An exhibit at the Kiefer hearing reviewed at the meeting was a map showing the south-eastern part of Ramsey, with red MUSA lining marking the large general contiguous main MUSA area, and a couple of "pocket" ones such as the Gun Club on Variolite, where Traprock St. deadends, and where there's a story.
I requested a map copy from the City and Ms. Frolik of the Community Development staff promptly emailed me the item, for which I am appreciative.
Below is that exhibit map, and you can find your home location if it is included in the map segment, if you click to enlarge, (and do not need the streets to be clearly named because the image resolution does not allow that), and you then can see if you reside in or outside of a MUSA area.
Also, a few paragraphs below the map is a "birdseye" view of another different neighborhood than mine. It also is "old Ramsey" large-lot in character, with the homes built probably in the 1970's or so. While within the MUSA area, the homes have not been, as yet, forced to hook up to municipal sewer-water services and pay extreme special assessment amounts for hook up.
It is good that, so far, those homeowner-voters have not been forced into a hookup.
But the risk of forced hookups is ever present, and some previous citizen-initiated charter amendment effort helped lessen that risk (via adding charter language of a protective nature), whereas the most recent such reform effort to protect the character and ownership freedoms in some neighborhoods was scuttled by the present city council at the time sewer-water was extended to the Gun Club (and from there to the Peterson high density corn-field development on Nowthen Blvd. bordering Trott Brook). Because that charter proposal impacted the routing to service the Gun Club ownership, James Norman, David Elvig, and/or others procured two outside legal opinions saying the citizen-initiative was unlawful, and the council then including Todd Cook, Elvig, the present mayor, and others unanimously voted to stifle the matter going to a ballot and a citizens' vote.
With new faces set to come on council, "old Ramsey" large-lot homeowners may hope for a better, more friendly view and treatment concerning "existing neighborhood single family dwelling" preservation and/or protection language being added by citizen initiative to the Charter via an amendment referendum of a kind Ramsey has held and not stifled at times in the past.
With new people on council and with the pending far-north extension of "services" not being at issue, where the particular linguistic illegality was ferreted out by the two retained law firms, the impediment to citizen initiative and reform should not be as severe in the future, as it was then.
As already noted, directly below is the birdseye view of a different neighborhood than where I live, the neighborhood depicted in the birdseye view in the earlier post. This birdseye view looks similar, but with the major streets running North-South rather than East-West where I live. That's a distinction without any true difference.
What the view shows, is that people park on their homesite where convenient, and do not make any special effort to pour concrete or have a contractor roll asphalt.
That situation is, by chance, inside a MUSA area. By good luck, so far, where I live is outside of any MUSA lining drawn on a map at city hall. Bless the good luck.
However, the people in the above birdseye view are subject to the ordinance regulating off-street parking on their land. Realistically, absent a neighbor's complaint it would take a truly badge-heavy official to pursue these voting people over how they park on their land, and it would be highly counterproductive if that was done to any great extent. Norms of discretionary enforcement suggest the residents technically non-conforming to ordinance requirements have no major worry - at present.
But they have a risk.
It is a risk my neighborhood - comparable in character - does not presently face.
Is the situation reasonable when all these various people do as they do and yet are technically in violation of a regulatory ordinance?
Or is the ordinance over-broad?
Can it be rewritten to curb scofflaws who abuse things with multiple junk vehicles that are an eyesore to the neighbors but in a less overarching way? That is likely.
But thought is needed to see if what exists now is the correct thing, or overreaching. And care is needed to not cast too wide a net.
High-powered fishing trawlers have caught dolphins in the nets, and as air breathing animals not equipped with gills - differing from fish that way - they are killed. Their flesh is not marketable, so the dead dolphin carcasses are discarded into the ocean when the nets are hauled in and the fish having commercial value are kept.
I suggest this is both unfair to the dolphins, and an unnecessary threat or risk to their well-being that serves no real commercial or other fishing need. The problem is too wide a netting.
Below is the map exhibit, with the two contrasting neighborhoods generally "circled" in blue and apparent at the blue hand-sketched arrows. They are miles apart, in Ramsey. But there are big single family home lots to each, not "MUSA sized" quarter acre things. But one neighborhood happens to be inside an arbitrary line, with the other outside.
What's right? What's fair? Go figure.
Perhaps what I wrote was too circumspect. What I believe and hope for are new council members amenable to the citizen-initiated charter reform process as the law allows it to operate. Amenable to putting things to a vote, especially where a proposal can be fashioned without the specific language that the two law-firm opinions ojbected to as a tiny part of a more inclusive set of proposals that were scrutinized and not found objectionable. Drop the language that caused the objection, put it before a new council, and lo and behold we may get the reform proposal to a vote. Focus on those things that are unique city powers and functions and avoid the conflict with area-wide planning things that the legal opinions said preempted some detail of what the reform proposal sought. Changing proposal wording to remove that which was criticized as arguably unlawful is easy, and it would be the height of disingenuousness to have vetted things once, found a technical objection, have it removed, and to then somehow find some previously unobjectionable part to be basis anew, to kill the effort. We can expect more, simply by expecting fair play. This time, with newer more citizen-attuned people on council, the baby might not end up thrown out with the bathwater.
Todd Cook and the present mayor will not be on council this time and David Elvig is only one vote.
Citizen initiative likely will fare better with new faces on council, and be more favorably viewed - as to getting proposals to a ballot even where a council member might oppose the proposed change or action but feel the right to reach a ballot is reasonable, and generally lawful and proper. Instead of an administration and council looking for excuses to avoid a ballot, reasonableness and fairness might instead prevail.
That is with regard to future possibilities.
For the present, and for the parking ordinance as written, having an ordinance tied to the "MUSA areas" which are primarily designators of where sewer-water expansion is intended, and where the purpose of the ordinance is wholly unrelated to sewer-water expansion questions, is of doubtful validity because prevalent practices in a neighborhood might be more pertinent a consideration than where a map-line is drawn for wholly different situations than the ordinance is written to police.