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Lee County Board Rejects Rural Parking Policy

The Lee County Board of Supervisors tends to follow the advice of other county elected leaders and department heads when it comes to setting rules and establishing policy. But that was not the case this week as the board voted 3-2 to reject a proposed rural parking policy.

The policy would have allowed the county board to establish a no parking zone, as recommended by the county engineer, in rural Lee County or in an unincorporated community. Violators would be fined $25 per offense and their vehicles could be towed at their expense.

Chairman Gary Folluo and Vice Chairman Rick Larkin supported the policy. Supervisors Ron Fedler, Rich Harlow, and Matt Pflug voted against it.

Pflug, whose district is located solely within Keokuk, initially supported the policy. But he flipped to oppose it during the final vote, essentially defeating it.

“To justify a countywide ordinance in this situation does not make sense to me,” said Pflug.

The “situation” is a months-long parking dispute between neighbors in the community of Denmark. The dispute has resulted in multiple visits by county staff, county board members, and even law enforcement.

The county chose to draft the countywide policy as opposed to trying to specifically address the situation in Denmark. Fedler, Harlow, and Pflug all said at different times prior to the final vote that they would prefer to see the county help the neighbors work out their differences and avoid creating a new law.

“For someone to believe this is the only incident that this policy will be enforced in has not spoken to me,” County Sheriff Stacy Weber told the board. Weber said he and County Engineer Ben Hull both support the measure because they regularly deal with residents or businesses who park for extended periods in the county’s right of way.

“This is a way to make this more convenient to address,” said Weber. “[You should] establish it now and see if it is useful.”

Fedler said he could not support the county sheriff and engineer over his constituents, who told him they did not want it.

“My responsibility I feel is to the people in the district that elected me for this seat. Those are the people that I think it was very important that I listen to," Fedler said.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.