Dormont revises handicapped parking

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Those seeking reserved handicapped-accessible parking spaces on residential streets in Dormont will now have a clearer procedure to follow.

Dormont council approved a policy Monday that consolidates two previous guidelines on the matter.

"Despite these two written documents, the borough's implementation does not in many ways match what they say," Jeffrey Naftal, borough manager, wrote in a memorandum to council and Mayor Thomas Lloyd. The new policy is intended to explain the process to residents.

Those who have spaces reserved for 2013 will be grandfathered. Spaces will come up for renewal at the start of each year, with approval from council and the borough's Traffic and Parking Planning Commission.

Residents who have state-issued disability license plates or placards, which are transferable between vehicles, can apply for reserved spaces. Approval is at the borough's discretion.

Under the new policy, the number of spaces is limited to two on streets that allow parking on both sides, and one on streets with parking on a single side. Mr. Naftal said exceptions could be made, with council's approval. Parking is not guaranteed.

"Once a space is issued, there is no right to the space by the applicant," the policy states. "Anyone who has a placard or tag can use the space if it is open, pursuant to state law."

In other business, council approved a 3 percent pay raise and $2,000 bonus for Mr. Naftal, who started as borough manager in July.

"When we hired Jeff, we said at the end of six months we would evaluate him," explained Bill McCartney, council president.

He said council members and the mayor each ranked the manager in 75 performance areas, then met to discuss their observations. "He has undoubtedly done a good job," Mr. McCartney said.

Council member Onnie Costanzo cited Mr. Naftal's negotiation of four union contracts this year as saving Dormont a significant amount of money.

When Mr. Naftal was hired, he signed a one-year contract for $75,000.

Also, council awarded a $94,495 contract to Interface Studio LLC to update the borough's comprehensive plan, which has not been revised since 1995.

Mr. Naftal said three qualified firms submitted bids. He said the company plans to seek substantial input from the public in the planning process.

"It's more than we budgeted for," he said about the amount of the contract. "But we think it's well worth the extra money."

Members of council's public safety committee said they plan to interview candidates to replace retiring chief Phil Ross on Jan. 19. Council hopes to appoint a new chief in February, then begin interviewing for a sergeant and patrolman.


Harry Funk, freelance writer:


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