Visitors to Yampa Valley Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics will face the same parking issues and challenges customers of other downtown businesses do. The Craig City Council voted unanimously to deny a request from resident Saed Tayyara to install either a 10-foot loading or no-parking zone in front of the clinic.
"I think there is a safety issue there and that's why I ask for this, not to favor one business over another," Tayyara told the Council at its regular meeting Tuesday. "I'm talking about the patients, not the doctors."
Tayyara approached the Council March 13 after he had trouble getting into the clinic with a broken leg. The Council tabled the issue pending discussion with the Downtown Business Association (DBA), which has wavered in its support of the loading zone.
DBA President Nadine Daszkiewicz said approving the request would be granting one Yampa Avenue business extra privileges.
"What's to prevent five or six businesses from deciding they need special parking, too?" she asked. "It sets a horrible precedent. Neither the Downtown Business Association nor the City of Craig should be involved in correcting mistakes a business makes in the selection of its location."
Daszkiewicz said the Association would agree to a 10-foot no parking zone if Yampa Valley Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics owner Dr. Rhett Rainey would bear the cost of signage and any necessary construction.
Rainey has not attended any of the public meetings where this issue was on the agenda, a fact that concerned Councilor Kent Nielson.
"The people you're talking about [patients] are going to benefit from this, but so is Dr. Rainey," he said. "How come Dr. Rainey isn't here?"
Rainey did endorse the idea in a letter to the Council.
City Manager Jim Ferree recommended the Council oppose a loading zone because it results in a loss of parking for the general public, would set a precedent for additional requests and because other options are available. There are parking spaces available for lease north of Rainey's clinic, Ferree said. Parking is also available for rent behind the clinic.
"I just don't think its needed," Councilor Don Jones said.
Tayyara submitted a petition signed by residents, most being patients of Rainey's clinic.
"My guts tell me what your asking is representing the minority," Councilor Bill Johnston said. "I have a responsibility to represent the majority."
City ordinance requires new businesses to provide adequate parking for customers, which Ferree said, all other clinics in Craig have complied with.