NEWARK, NJ — The City Council gave its final approval Wednesday to revise the application used to apply for handicapped parking spaces.
The need for revision came to light after council members raised discussion that many residents voiced heavy inconveniences caused by the requirement of multiple notarized physician's forms on the application.
The new revision requires one physician's form. The municipal council will no longer be required to approve the applications. Approval is contingent on the approval of the Department of Engineering’s Manager of the Division of Traffic and Signals.
Application fees were also increased. Each application fee was increased from $50 to $75 made payable to the City of Newark, Department of Engineering, Division of Traffic and Signals.
City residents must renew applications on an annual basis up to 120 days prior to expiration. Applications submitted within 90 days of expiration will be treated as a new application.
Renewal applications doubled in cost to $50, as well as the cost to replace lost permits.
The revision also assigns handicapped parking spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The measure to update and revising the ordinance was introduced by East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador and co-sponsored by North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr.
"I think the intention of the original ordinance was never intended to place any kind of hardship," Ramos said. "I think once you start implementing these ordinances you run into situations where you do recognize that some of the provisions may actually be very difficult for the residents or City to meet."
Ramos said the revision eliminates the need for notarized doctor's assessment but does require that the doctor attest to the disability under the penalty of perjury which should discourage any potential fraudulent applications.
"The idea is not to create a hardship for those residents who are disabled and need access to handicap parking, but to create a process that discourages those who are not disabled from accessing handicap parking," Ramos said.
Amador said the revised ordinance was a "good compromise that creates a tough standard" to ensure disabled residents have access to handicapped parking while prohibiting abuse from those who are not disabled.
Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver voiced her support for the revision throughout the process.
"I’m very excited about us being able to hear residents voice their opinions with the amendments that we have put forth in the beginning of this year and going back to doing this," McIver said Wednesday. "This will eliminate a lot of hardship for residents who are handicapped who need handicapped parking who just could not get their handicapped parking with the rules that we had put in place."