FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved five changes to the town’s traffic ordinance Tuesday, after questions arose about two amendments. 

The votes were unanimous on four of the changes. Selectmen Andrew Hufnagel and Ryan Morgan opposed the change that eliminates overnight parking on South Street year-round.

The University of Maine at Farmington had requested that overnight parking be eliminated year-round to cater to events held early in the morning at Olsen Student Center. 

South and North dining halls in the student center where events are held are a longer, partially uphill walk for people parking in the university parking lot off High Street. Parking on South Street allows for quicker entry to events and meetings.

Under winter parking rules, there is no overnight parking on town streets from Nov. 15 to April 15 and this probably isn’t as much of a concern during the summer, Town Manager Richard Davis said.

During the school year, prior to November and after April, students often park along the town streets.

Hufnagel and Morgan questioned eliminating any overnight parking after reminding the board of discussions about the Front Street town parking lot next to Narrow Gauge Cinema. Supporters of keeping the town’s Front Street lot open to overnight parking for downtown apartment tenants opposed eliminating any overnight parking, Hufnagel reminded the board.

The change passed 3-2. Hufnagel and Morgan said they believe it was a matter of fairness and disagreed with eliminating any overnight parking.

Morgan also questioned reserving parking downtown for tour buses. He wanted to know when the cones would be put out to reserve two parking spaces and was concerned about any potential for cars to be towed if they were parked there.

Davis assured the board that parking the buses is workable. It worked with those who visited this summer, he said.

There are three different areas used, one on lower Broadway, one on Main Street beside Meetinghouse Park and one in the area of Church and High streets.

Although selectmen were under the impression that volunteers from the downtown merchants put the cones out a couple hours before the bus is due, Ron Gelinas said Wednesday that he puts the cones out in the early morning when a bus is expected because the spaces are taken by 8:30 a.m.

The board unanimously approved the ordinance change that allows parking spaces reserved for the buses for two hours, because they bring business to downtown.

The board also unanimously approved a change that prohibits parking on the entire east side of North Street and on the west side between Orchard and Perham streets.

The Business District was amended to include the west side of High Street between Broadway and Church to allow a van making deliveries to Sugarwood Gallery the opportunity to park in the striped “zebra zones.”  Delivery parking in these zones is only allowed in the Business District.

The last change allows the town to temporarily close a town parking lot for routine maintenance.

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