KEYSER - Keyser city officials are again talking about revisiting the idea of residential parking around the Potomac State College campus, but they plan to hold off until after the election.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Keyser city officials are again talking about revisiting the idea of residential parking around the Potomac State College campus, but they plan to hold off until after the election.
Currently, parking on several of the streets around the campus is designated as residential-only from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, with those residents wishing to be able to park their vehicles on the street during those times required to obtain a parking permit.
The special parking zone was originally implemented approximately seven  years ago when residents came to the council complaining that available parking was being taken up by college students, many of whom would leave their vehicles parked on the street for weeks at a time.
The zone was therefore set up so that students could freely park during  the day, but the parking spots would be empty in time for the residents as they returned home from work.
In February, however, Keyser City Council member William Zacot said he had been approached by some residents who were unhappy with the arrangement.
During the July 8 council meeting, city administrator Amanda Brafford again brought up the issue, saying it is time for residents to renew their permits this month.
She expressed her opinion, however, that the parking zone is unfair to the residents to have to pay to park in front of their homes, and suggested the council wait to make a decision on the issue “until we see who gets on the council.”
Three seats are coming open on the council in the July 28 election and could conceivably change the dynamics of the group.
The officials did continue to discuss the issue, however, and council member Jennifer Junkns said that  they might consider “still having to have a permit, but not having to pay for them” in order to be more fair to the residents.
“You want to do what’s right for the people,” mayor Damon Tillman said, later expressing the opinion that the permits are too pricey.
“It started out at a dollar. I would agree with that; it pays for the permit,” he said.
“But it’s now $10? The city got greedy,” he said.
“I don’t think we should charge them,” council member Billy Meek said.
Junkins also said she felt Potomac State has “ample parking” on campus for the students, but recognized that a lot of the street parking is taken up by students running late and wanting to park close to their class.
Zacot agreed about the on-campus parking availability.
“I went up and counted vacant spots around the campus. There were 153 spots on average is the number sticking in my head,” he said.
“So why do they need our parking?”
As members of the audience - including candidates for council seats, participated in the discussion, council member Mike Ryan suggested they table the issue until after the election.
“Wait a minute, buddy, I have a question!” Elwood Junkins interrupted, telling Ryan to “just sit there and wait a minute.”
Tillman commented that what should be “a five-minute decision” was being dragged out, however, and asked that the issue be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.
In the meantime, the council has cancelled its next meeting and will not meet again until August - after the election.