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Wichita licenses the striping of parking lots

Next week the Wichita City Council will consider licensing and regulating the painting of stripes in parking lots. How, may I ask, has civilization advanced without the benefit of such regulation?

The agenda report narrative states, “The proposed ordinance does not set up permit or inspection processes; it would be complaint-driven enforcement through the ADA Coordinator.”

But earlier, the same report reads: “The proposed ordinance establishes a licensing and enforcement system applicable to persons and businesses catering to the public when they modify the construction or layout of parking spaces they make available to the public.”

The licensure requirement in the ordinance states: “Any person or entity, whether as principal, agent, or employee, engaged in the business of striping a parking lot in the City of Wichita shall be required to obtain a striping contractor’s license from the City Engineer’s Office. When striping is performed by or under the direct supervision of a property owner or renter, or such owner’s or renter’s agent, such individual shall be deemed to be a licensed striping contractor for the purposes of striping such property.”

Before receiving such a license, applicants must post a surety bond of $5,000, approved by the city attorney. Then the contractor must pass a comprehensive exam on ADA standards for accessible parking. There’s an application fee of $100, which appears to be payable annually.

And, this ordinance is open-ended: “The City Engineer’s Office shall develop any additional rules and regulations necessary for the issuance or annual renewal of striping contractors’ licenses.”

Before painting stripes on a parking lot, notice must be given, according to the proposed ordinance: “When striping begins, the striping contractor shall post a conspicuous notice at the location to be striped, to remain conspicuous for no less than seven days after striping is completed. The notice shall be in a form prescribed by the ADA Coordinator and shall contain, at a minimum, the striping contractor’s name and license number or, if the striping contractor is the property owner or renter, the notice shall contain that entity’s contact information.”

Violators, believe it or not, can face imprisonment: “Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

I wonder: Is it a problem in Wichita that there aren’t enough parking spots for disabled people, or that the parking spots are too narrow? (The ordinance specifies the width of the parking stalls, and also the width of adjacent access isles.)

Can’t businesses decide for themselves how many parking spots they want to reserve for their handicapped customers? Or must government decide for us, independently of the type of business? Isn’t it possible that a hospital and a ballet studio might have different needs for handicapped parking, and that each is best equipped to determine that number?

To top it off: It appears that these regulations are part of a settlement agreed to by the City of Wichita in response to a lawsuit filed against the city. For the city’s sins, we all suffer with these needless and overbearing regulations.

Wichita parking lot striping standards and enforcement

Bob Weeks

Bob Weeks is a blogger for liberty and economic freedom in Kansas: http://wichitaliberty.org. Find him onTwitter: @bob_weeks

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