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Town of Unicoi BMA tables parking ordinance

*Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from the print version, which incorrectly stated that the Town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Alderman unanimously voted to pass a new parking ordinance. The board unanimously voted to table the ordinance until a later date. The closing time for the farmer’s market was also incorrectly listed as 5 p.m. The market closes at 1 p.m. The Erwin Record regrets the errors.

By Richard Rourk

Meeting via Zoom, Town of Unicoi officials conducted business during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting held Monday, July 20. 

During the meeting, the BMA voted unanimously to table an ordinance prohibiting parking on the right-of-way in Unicoi, unless specified by the town. 

“Once passed, there will be a penalty with a fine up to $50 and will be considered a Class C misdemeanor,” Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said. “In addition to the fine, court costs will be absorbed by the violator.”

Alderwoman Kathy Bullen called for one change to be made in the ordinance. 

“We need an exception for certain situations, like if Erwin Utilities is working on the side of the road,” Bullen said. “We need to prevent fines for these cases where it is necessary for someone to park.”

Town of Unicoi Attorney Lois Davis Shults agreed to put an exemption in the ordinance.

In closing, the BMA had to make decisions about upcoming events due to COVID-19. 

“Right now the Pinnacle Trail Challenge is up in the air,” Alderman Jeff Linville said. “We will continue to see what precautions we can do, but right now it’s not looking promising.”

According to Town of Unicoi Communications and Programs Director Ashley Shelton, several area events have been put on hold or cancelled due to the pandemic. 

“It’s a rough time for events,” Shelton said. “We were able to host a ribbon cutting for Las Guacamayas Restaurant and I see a lot of cars there every evening so we have to make sure to support them and continue to welcome them. Our Farmers Market and Community Yard Sale is up and running on Tuesdays from 8 a.m until 1 p.m. We keep hitting snag after snag; we had to cancel movie night on July 10 due to storms and last week we had to cancel because of a rise in COVID. We really need to play any events going forward by ear.”

For any updates of future events, please follow the Town of Unicoi on Facebook.