Tomball City Council members unanimously established a no-parking zone on the north side of FM 2920 between Tomball Cemetery and Park roads at a June 21 council meeting. The ordinance received pushback from the owner of The Arbor Gate, a garden center and plant nursery that operates in front of the restricted parking zone on FM 2920.
“Our requests are simple: as opposed to reactive regulation that would most surely cause us to shut our doors, please help us be proactive in a solution,” owner Beverly Welch said. “Please help the Arbor Gate stay and be a part of this community for another 25 years.”
At a June 7 meeting, Police Chief Jeffrey Bert and other council members said this area of FM 2920 has become congested with parked cars and pedestrians trying to cross the street to enter the garden center, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. The council first took up the ordinance to keep people safe, Council Member Lori Klein Quinn said.
“Many of us are pro-business and we don’t want to do anything to hurt our businesses here in Tomball, but at the same time we have a responsibility for the safety [of our constituents] and we can’t afford to have one person get hurt,” Quinn said June 21.
Quinn said following discussion, the council compromised to have parking restrictions on only one side of the road. Council Member Derek Townsend was the only member to vote against the ordinance at the June 7 meeting, but voted in favor of it this time.
“I voted against that because I wanted [the parking restrictions] to be on both sides; not to hurt your business, but to keep someone from dying there,” he said. “At least it’s halfway doing something.”
Instead of parking restrictions, Welch proposed to work with the city to make a traffic stop and a crosswalk at the entrance of The Arbor Gate. Townsend said the likelihood of that happening would be “zero,” as he said he believes the law forbids traffic signals placed at entrances and exits of private businesses.
Additionally, FM 2920 is a state road, not within the city’s jurisdiction.
Council Member Chad Degges said he appreciated Welch and her business and said the council tried to do what it could to avoid unintended consequences and not make the situation worse.
“We’re not looking for an inelegant solution,” Degges said.
Welch was the only resident to speak on the proposed ordinance. The no-parking zone will extend 885 feet between Tomball Cemetery and Park roads, according to the meeting agenda.