City revising section of code dealing with vehicles and traffic

City staff have been continuing their effort to update the municipal code.

Up next, Title 10.

That section of the city code pertains to vehicles and traffic and most of the updates proposed by staff are non-substantive but some are substantive changes.

During the Aug. 21 work session, Assistant City Attorney Joe Cik walked City Commissioners through the proposed changes.

On Tuesday, commissioners are scheduled to vote on repealing and replacing Title 10.

[READ: the proposed title language]

One of the substantive changes is adopting specific penalty provisions throughout the title to eliminate confusion about potential vehicle-related code violations. Cik said it would also improve efficiency in the city’s code enforcement process.

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Another proposed substantive change includes updating payment options for parking meters and amending parking violations to include violation of parking facility lease rules.

The proposed change would codify the allowance of an electronic payment method for parking meters since the city has used the Passport Parking app for several years.

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New language in the proposal would also require Montana Department of Transportation approval for traffic control devices placed on MDT rights-of-way, making the city code consistent with current practice and applicable state law and regulations, Cik said.

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Proposed changes would allow the city parking administrator, in consultation with the Parking Advisory Commission, to add meters in the City Commission established parking districts.

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Currently, the parking administrator has the authority to remove meters in those districts, but does not have the authority to add them without presenting a formal resolution to the commission. That hamstrings the city’s ability to test changes to the parking system by removing meters in areas of low use when it’s time-consuming to get them replaced if the experiment is unsuccessful.

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Proposed language will allow the parking administrator to remove commercial loading zones when those zones are creating traffic hazards.

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The new language would allow the Public Works Department, in conjunction with the Great Falls Police Department, to remove vehicles that are parked in construction zones. It establishes a procedure for moving those vehicles to another location.

The proposed changes would also add appeal provisions for parking boots and revise abatement and penalty provisions for abandoned and junk vehicles.

It would also include language to allow Public Works to force the repair of any street damage caused by vehicles operating illegally or exceeding the maximum weight without a permit.

City working to update municipal code

Overall, the goal of the city code revision is to remove inconsistencies within the code itself, and with Montana Code Annotated and the Administrative Rules of Montana.

Cik said the next titles to be reviewed would likely be Title 3, dealing with revenue and finance, and Title 15, dealing with buildings and construction.

They they’ll move to the sections that will be a major undertaking: Title 13, dealing with utilities, and Title 17, the land development code.