PHOENIXVILLE >> Military veterans and motorcycle riders will receive preferential treatment in borough parking lots thanks to a recent decision by the borough council.

Council agreed Tuesday to allow borough officials to designate one parking space in each borough parking lot for veterans to use and to set up an area specifically where motorcycle riders can park. Council member Jon Ichter II dissented.

While the designated spaces won’t be free, they will include a sign that requests other motorists park elsewhere. However, officials admitted there is no way to enforce that request.

“You can’t ticket somebody for parking in the spot,” said Borough Manager Jean Krack. “It’s really on the honor system.”

The idea for the special veteran spots came after the borough policy committee caught wind of stories where other communities gave Purple Heart veterans special parking spaces. The intent was to thank them for their service to their country. The committee members liked the idea and wanted to put their own spin on it, he said.

Krack said the special area for motorcycle riders is designed so motorcycles don’t take up a huge parking space in a borough lot. The signs designating the special spots aren’t expensive either, estimating the cost to be a few hundred dollars per sign, he said.

While council seemed to be in agreement that it was a nice gesture to honor veterans, some admitted the idea of preferential treatment could open a Pandora’s Box of controversy among the community. Ichter and council Vice President Dana Dugan agreed the idea excludes other first responders for starters.

“The reason I will not be voting for this tonight is I think it does exclude people like our police and our firefighters and our other emergency personnel that put their lives on the line too,” Ichter said. “It’s not a slap at veterans or motorcycle riders.”

“I have nothing against veterans I absolutely appreciate and respect their service,” Dugan prefaced. “It’s just … (what) if you can’t prove that you are a veteran? People are going to park in the space or it’s always going to be empty. If it’s available people are going to use it. I just feel we’re not accomplishing much here.”

Krack responded that the policy committee considered those scenarios and agreed they were fair concerns. He agreed there is a risk that other community groups will soon want their own spot too.

“Mothers with children, fathers with dogs,” he quipped, “but we came to common ground that this is a broad based group of people who’ve done something for their country and we should honor them by giving a parking spot.”

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