Senior law and justice major Jacob Basch lives in a Glassboro residence with four roommates and a straight driveway that impedes him from parking in it during the weekend.
“I work Sunday morning and my roommate works Saturday nights, so we have to play car shuffle because I can’t park in the street,” Basch said.
He cannot park on the street, Basch said, because he was told by a Gloucester County dispatcher last semester that he was no longer allowed to call in his car when it won’t fit in the driveway. Annoyed by the uncertain policies surrounding off-campus parking, Basch looked for means to fix his problem.
What started as dealing with an inconvenient driveway has grown into a petition backed by over a thousand Glassboro residents and Rowan students.
The petition, created by Basch on change.org, looks to alter the unofficial rule implied to Basch by the county dispatch that residents are only allowed to park on the street overnight three separate times before being susceptible to a ticket.
It also looks to completely eliminate the Glassboro council’s Boro Ordinance 445-14 G, which states “No person shall park any vehicle or cause any vehicle to be parked on any of the streets or highways within the Boro of Glassboro between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.”
The petition currently has 1,142 online signatures and dozens of typed comments supporting his movement.
Basch said that support has been a mixed bag of town residents, local business owners and Rowan students — which only helps his case that much more.
“It’s truthfully great,” Basch said. “I’m big with social networking, and I know this is something locals would stand behind.”
After getting 1,000 signatures in two days, the petition was formally presented by Basch to Borough Adminstrator Joseph Brigandi via email. He said it was the second email he had sent to Glassboro administration, but the first to receive a reply.
“[Brigandi] got back to me and told me that ordinance has been in place since 1970,” Basch said. “I believe that some laws or ordinances don’t fit in with the times, so I asked them to repeal the law.”
However, the original ordinance, which Glassboro Chief of Police Alex Fanfarillo said is in place to “control obstructions” for sanitation services and snowplows, is unlikely to be removed from law. The real issue police and administration officials have sided with Basch on is the county dispatch’s definition of the “three-limit rule.”
Fanfarillo said the true definition of the rule is that an individual can park as many as three nights in a row — as long as they call their car in to the dispatch each night — before having to defer to the police on additional consecutive nights of parking. Fanfarillo said this is done to ensure that people do not “abuse” the permission. However, the true definition has not stood.
“What [the dispatch] has enforced is no way parallel to what we expected it to be,” Fanfarillo said.
Brigandi said that a meeting between Glassboro officials and the county dispatch administration on Dec. 10 attempted to clarify that rule.
“The dispatch started to change the rule without talking to us,” Brigandi said. “We were very upset with them, but it seemed to be a miscommunication.”
Brigandi said that the dispatch’s reason for stricter parking enforcement came from the amount of call-ins they received on a daily basis.
“Over the past few months, their overnight call-ins doubled — nearly tripled — for our town, and they were afraid that it would begin distracting from any emergency calls,” Brigandi said.
Now the two parties have agreed to work together. The original “three-limit rule” will be upheld as intended through mid-January, until officials meet again to analyze its progress and discuss long-term options.
Brigandi spoke optimistically about the future endeavors.
“We were assured that [the dispatch] would not make a change like that again without informing us,” Brigandi said.
Brigandi also informed Basch of the decision via email and thanked him for his concern.
While Basch can now — at least temporarily — park where and when he needs to, he still thinks there are changes to be made in Glassboro.
“I think a lot of things need to be taken a better look at, especially with the growth of Glassboro,” Basch said. “They’re trying to grow, but are making it so people don’t want to come to this school with the rules they apply. They need to take a good look at the laws and ordinances of this town.”
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