More than 40 residents have signed a petition hoping to ease parking congestion and relieve other traffic issues around Spring and Cedar Streets in Calistoga.
The petition specifically addresses “no parking” signs posted at two 8-unit rental buildings at 1311 and 1313 Spring Street, where residents are prohibited from parking in front of their garages and risk being towed if they do so.
If apartment residents were able to park in the off-street area next to each unit, it would take 16-18 parked vehicles off Spring and Cedar Streets, the residents say.
The signs were posted in February 2017 by the buildings’ owner, St. Helena resident and winery owner Thomas Redmon.
“It was just not a good situation. (Cars parked in front of the garages) made it hard to get in and out,” he said.
To date, no one has been towed, but residents are afraid to park there, said Dennis Lang, who lives across from the apartments and has been circulating the petition.
That has left residents of the buildings, whose garages are full of belongings, parking on Spring and Cedar streets, and in the playground parking across the street.
Lang said he has spoken to Redmon about the problem several times recently, and was hoping it was just a matter of taking down the no parking signs.
However, unbeknownst to both Lang and Redmon, it turns out that parking in front of the garages would violate fire codes.
According to the Calistoga Fire Department, parking in front of the apartment garages, under the overhangs, would be a violation of city and fire codes. Should a car catch fire, it could endanger the building.
The overhangs can be upgraded with fire-retardant products, however, said Fire Chief Steve Campbell.
Redmon, who has owned the buildings for 30 years, said he was unaware of the building and fire codes when he posted the signs, and has no plans to upgrade the overhangs.
Redmon said he checked with the city and is not violating any regulations by posting the signs, and says he is within city regulations by providing 11⁄2 parking stalls per unit.
“If they have stuff in their garages (that prohibits parking in them), I can’t control that,” he said.