Common sense

Selectmen in Tremont recently refused to permit patrons of a performing arts collective there to have use of nearby municipal parking lots in the evenings. Their stated reason: there is a law against it.

While that makes perfect sense, what is difficult to comprehend is how the community benefits by having the Murphy and consolidated school lots remain empty when they could be put to good use.

To their credit, the Barn Arts Collective has not asked for exclusive use of the property. That group recently got permission from the planning board to operate, but with a ridiculously low number of just four parking spaces for patrons on their site across the street.

All would agree that allowing cars to sit in the town lots for an hour or two more would cause no additional real wear and tear on the property. It’s just that selectmen, correctly, didn’t want to flout the law, even though a boat on a trailer, sitting in one of the lots for months, does not appear to have raised any official ruckus.

When most people – selectmen, planning board members and many in the public – agree the rules don’t make sense, there’s just one thing to do. Change the rules.

Selectmen have the authority to suggest changes in the ordinance that would permit evening use of the community building and Murphy lots. If there are concerns that people will leave vehicles there too long, a no-overnight-parking provision and tow-away authority could be imposed.

Having another source of entertainment and culture in Tremont is something that the community should encourage. Relaxing the parking rules would be of gain to the public at large, not singling out the collective for an exclusive economic benefit.

Banning public use of a public parking lot may have made sense years ago. But the perceived benefits of that long-standing restriction no longer seem to exist. It is time to make some changes.


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