Residents upset about student on-street parking near Hobbs High School
Reports of “hoodlum” teenagers parking in driveways, sitting on porches and acting up aren’t as dire as they may sound, say some students and residents parking near Hobbs High School.
On-street parking near the high school became an issue at Monday’s Hobbs City Commission meeting, with some city councilors saying the parking situation has grown out of control.
City Commissioner Christopher Mills said a local woman’s Facebook post about parking near the high school had received almost 500 comments and 80 shares, with more than 5,000 views.
“I know this has probably floated around a lot,” Mills said near the end of Monday’s meeting, when each city commissioner is afforded time to speak on any issue. “She posted a bunch of pictures, I guess of the high school kids, parking bumper to bumper on these streets over in Eagle Park … it’s basically the houses over by the high school.”
Mills said the Facebook poster got a lot of negative feedback for posting photos of student vehicles. He said he understood that some students were having problems getting the proper paperwork necessary to obtain a school parking lot permit. Mills said a two-hour parking limit at City Park has also caused more students to park on school side streets.
“I don’t know that it’s necessarily illegal to park on these, but when 4,000 or 5,000 people post on this topic and look at this, this is a big deal, and it’s something that we’re going to have to pay attention to soon,” Mills said. “I know that no one likes dealing with parking in neighborhoods. Even the trucks, you start talking about that and people start heading for the door and looking for when their next appointment is.”
Mills also said the owners Kendall’s Kountry Meat Market, at 1224 E. Sanger St., have coned off their driveway because 30 cars a day were parking in the store’s parking lot.
“I think the school board is going to have to look at what the schools are doing to push these kids off of campus into these neighborhoods. If you look at the pictures, it’s bumper to bumper on these streets,” Mills said. “It looks like there’s a wild house party going on. And these are kids. So it’s something that’s going to have to be addressed through multiple agencies, and I don’t know if it’s through ordinances or enforcement or what, but we’re going to have to do something.”
Police Chief Chris McCall then took to the lectern, telling city leaders a meeting between city leaders and school officials had been planned for Tuesday morning. McCall said solutions might entail new ordinances or parking regulations.
“We’re going to meet as a group and start working on those solutions,” McCall said. “And then we’ll definitely reach out to those folks in that neighborhood and provide them feedback on what comes of that.”
City Commissioner Patricia Taylor said she’s also been approached about student parking in the area.
“The city park is overwhelmed with the high schoolers parking over there in that community,” Taylor said.
City Commissioner Dwayne Penick said he has a friend who has been battling student parking issues on Sanger Street for three years.
“And they’ve put their property up for sale because they come home from work and people are in their driveway and won’t move, and blocking, and kids up in their yard,” Penick said. “They’ve come home and kids are on their porch. It’s a real problem that we need to address so people can conduct their lives and enjoy their homes and not feel like they have to be blocked out of their own homes by students parking off-campus.”
Isenia Esquivel, 18, an HHS senior who was parking her vehicle Tuesday morning in the 1300 block of East Scharbauer Street with a student passenger, defended her right to park along the street, across the street from the high school. She noted there are no official no-parking signs in the area, although at least one area resident has posted a no-parking sign in their yard.
“I do it because it takes too long to get out of here and I’ve got to get to work,” said Esquivel, who drives across town after school to work at Home Depot, a job she works 27 to 30 hours a week. “I don’t see any drinking or anything like that going on. We’re all just here parking to go to school. I don’t see a problem with it. We’ve been doing it for years.”
Esquivel said students have to pay either a $20 priority parking fee or a $5 general parking fee, per school year, to park in the large student parking lot in front of Tasker Arena.
“I don’t park in the school parking lot because they charge you. You have to pay to park in our own parking lot,” Esquivel said, adding students also have to prove they and their vehicles are licensed and insured.
Esquivel said the social media stir about parking near the high school was primarily instigated by one woman’s overly active Facebook posts. Esquivel said the parking situation has been blown way out of proportion.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal at all,” Esquivel said. “I don’t see anything that’s wrong.”
Monica Cruz, who lives in the 1200 block of East Scharbauer Street and who was coming home for lunch Tuesday, said parking near her house can be difficult. She said the streets are packed with vehicles every school day.
“Even kids that have stickers on their windows are parking in front of the house,” said Cruz, who has lived at the home for about a year, with her fiancé, Pete Quiroz.
Cruz said she and her fiancé have a driveway, but it’s already filled given that they own four vehicles, and therefore need on-street parking.
“This is little compared to what it usually is,” she said of Tuesday’s parking congestion. “We usually don’t have a parking spot on the street.
“A lot of the students without parking stickers are here, it’s my understanding. They don’t have a license to drive so they’re parking out here because they can’t get their parking sticker. I think it’s because parents are allowing kids to drive without a license.”
Cruz thinks a two-hour parking limit during business hours might help. A short time period would allow her to come home for lunch and park near her house.
“I appreciate that they’re trying to do something about it,” Cruz said.
Ted Garza of the 1300 block of East Scharbauer Street said he hasn’t had many problems with students parking in his driveway. Garza said if he sees a student parking in a manner that blocks his driveway, he asks the student to move a little and he or she complies.
“It doesn’t affect us too much,” said Garza, who has lived across the street from the high school office for 25 years. “If you honk, they move right away.”
Garza said most people that park near his home do so for short periods of time to pick someone up.
“It doesn’t really bother us,” he said. “But when they have games, it gets crazy everywhere.”