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BSU neighborhood parking proposal set for discussion

BEMIDJI - A parking permit system proposed for the neighborhood surrounding Bemidji State University could be decided this week.

The Bemidji City Council is slated to consider the proposal during its 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

A city committee has proposed a system through which neighborhood residents could purchase a $30 permit allowing them to park on streets between Birchmont Drive and Bemidji Avenue and 10th and 17th streets.

The permits would allow parking between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and would be valid Aug. 1 to July 31.

Because of the proximity to BSU, students and faculty have often parked on city streets in the area. Sometimes, it is to avoid having to purchase a BSU parking permits while, other times, the location is more convenient or closer to their destination.

Permit parking, according to the proposed resolution, aims to address on-street parking congestion, which can impact "property values, street access and the quiet, reasonable use and enjoyment" of property in the neighborhood.

If supported by the council, the resolution could be made effective Aug. 15, less than two weeks before BSU's Aug. 27 start date.

Bemidji City Councilor Kevin Waldhausen, who both lives in and represents the area proposed to be affected, hosted a public forum on the proposal last week.

Numerous students, residents and landowners at that time objected to the proposal, instead suggesting alternative ideas. Students said they felt unfairly targeted and property owners said they did not wish to pay a fee to park on a city street they have paid to construct and maintain.