Growing pains may lead to a system of parking regulations in downtown Maquoketa.

Maquoketa Public Works Director Frank Ellenz told the city’s Public Safety Committee that with all the upper-story apartments being constructed in the downtown, parking will be at a premium.

“Our Second Street parking lot will get filled up,” Ellenz said last week. “We’re going to have a parking issue here.”

There’s a potential for 30 to 40 apartments to be constructed or refurbished downtown, according to Maquoketa Interim City Manager Mallory Smith. That includes four going in above the Maquoketa Art Experience, more in the former Mitchell-Maskrey mill, and other private developments.

That also means, on average, one to three cars per rental unit congesting public parking lots downtown as well as along city streets. That, in turn, creates difficulties for customers shopping or obtaining services in the downtown.

Police have no means of enforcing regulations that limit hours of parking without a parking meter or a permit process, according to Maquoketa Police Chief Brad Koranda. 

“I’m not sure how we can do parking on the streets downtown without meters, and that creates funding issues,” Koranda said. “We need to start thinking about regulations and enforcement.”

Public Safety Committee member Kevin Kuhlman suggested designating some type of tenant parking system. However, Smith shot down the idea, saying it would be impossible to accommodate both tenants and businessowners that way.

Koranda cautioned against tenant parking designation. 

“I just feel like there’s going to be times when customers will park in (the tenant’s) spots,” and that could escalate into a police issue, he said.

Koranda favored some form of permit system in which a tenant would pay an annual fee to park a vehicle. This would help Public Works, especially in the winter when vehicles need to be removed to facilitate snow removal.

The committee agreed that downtown parking will become an issue as the city grows, but did not devise an immediate solution to the issue. Committee members will continue to discuss the issue.