Residents rush to beat 'driveway deadline'

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Gina Sellers lives in a newly annexed part of East Montgomery.

It's a quiet version of city life.  With one catch.

"It was just like, 'You need to do it, or you're going to be fined, and if you don't do it, each time we drive by, you're going to be fined,'" Sellers said as she described a written warning and a call to City Hall.

An ordinance, set to spring into effect on Monday, gives municipal workers the right to ticket vehicle owners.

That's a $50 fine each time someone is caught parking a car or truck in their front yard--not in their driveway.

Some residents are rushing to fill in problem spots.

"At first, they wanted us to pour a driveway.  It would cost us thousands of dollars to pour another driveway, and we don't have that kind of money," Sellers said.

Companies like Froggy Bottom Materials of Montgomery work to bring loads of gravel to customers who need more parking space for less money.

"We have a lot of people [that] can pick up their own if they have a pickup or a trailer. We've seen noticing quite a bit of that coming through," explained dispatcher James Duncan.

While homeowners in rural areas look for a quick fix, residents inside the city can't wait for the cars to get off the lawns.

"I don't think that makes the property value--it makes it kind of look bad.  Makes the neighborhood look like we don't care," said Dwight Olive of Montgomery.

Still, as the deadline approaches, the people who can break out their checkbooks as they try to skirt a round of fines.

"We just happened to have the money in our bank account, but for somebody else this may be kind of a stretch," Sellers explained.

For more information, contact Montgomery City Hall.

Here is the ordinance set to go into effect on Monday.






Section 1.        Prohibition.    It is hereby ordained by the City Council of the City of Montgomery that it shall hereafter be unlawful within the corporate limits of the City of Montgomery to:

              (A)       Park a motor vehicle in the front yard of a residence or business, unless the motor vehicle is parked in a driveway; 

              (B)       Park a motor vehicle over any part of a sidewalk, or any unpaved portion of the public right-of-way.

Section 2.        Definitions

      In this ordinance the following words or phrases shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this Section:

(A)  Front yard.  Any portion of a lot or parcel of land which extends its full width and lies between the edge of a public street and the front of the principal building on the lot or parcel. 

(B)  Principal Building. The principal dwelling house, office, or, if there is no principal dwelling house or office, that building which is closest in distance to the public street.  The front of the principal building shall be all of the principal building which lies between the two corners which constitute the widest portion of that side of the principal building which faces the public street and shall include all sides of a building which face a public street where the lot or parcel either lies in a curve of the public street, or which occupies a corner bounded on two or more sides by a public street.

(B)  Driveway.  Any area which is constructed for the purpose of parking motor vehicles, and which is surfaced with asphalt, concrete, pavers or stone.  Any area surfaced with pavers or stone shall be constructed with an edging or other boundary material which prohibits the movement and spreading of the pavers or stone in order to be deemed a driveway for the purposes of this ordinance.  For the purposes of this ordinance any driveway must connect to the public street and must include a curb cut where street curbing is present.

           (C)  Sidewalk.  Any area within the public right of way which is surfaced with asphalt, concrete, pavers or stone, and which is set aside and maintained by the City of Montgomery for the purpose of accommodating pedestrian traffic.

            (D)  Motor vehicle.  Any motorized or electric vehicle which is required to be registered and licensed by the State of Alabama in order to be driven on a public street.

            (E)  Registered Owner.  The owner of a motor vehicle as shown on the motor vehicle registration records of the Alabama Department of Revenue or the analogous department or agency of another state or country.


Section 3.        Exceptions                                         

            (A)  Limited Use

            For the purposes of this ordinance, parking in the front yard, as restricted by Section 1(A) above, shall not be prohibited where the motor vehicle is parked for the limited purpose of loading, unloading, or washing.  This exception shall only apply while the owner or operator of the motor vehicle is actively engaged in the said task, and in no event shall this exception apply for more than three (3) hours in any given twenty-four (24) hour period.

            (B)  Emergency Vehicles

            The prohibitions of this ordinance shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles parked while emergency personnel are engaged in answering a call or rendering assistance.  Authorized emergency vehicles shall include police and fire vehicles, as well as ambulances and hearses.

            (C)  Historic Districts

            The provisions of this ordinance shall not operate to allow the construction of driveways or the use of property in historic districts which conflicts with the rules and regulations governing land use in those districts.

Section 4.        Imposition of Penalties for Violations

(A)  Any person found to have parked in violation of this ordinance shall be subject to a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00).  Each calendar day in which a violation hereunder continues or re-occurs shall constitute a separate violation.

(B)  The Mayor of the City of Montgomery, or his duly appointed designee, shall be charged with the enforcement of this ordinance.  For each violation, a citation shall be posted on or near the front windshield of the motor vehicle found to be parked in violation of this ordinance.  The registered owner of the vehicle shall have thirty (30) calendar days within which to enter a guilty plea and pay the said fine. 

(1) Failure to pay Fine.  If the fine is not paid within the prescribed thirty (30) calendar days, a summons shall issue from the municipal court commanding the presence of the registered owner of the offending motor vehicle in municipal court to defend the prosecution of the said violation.  

(2) Failure to Appear.  If the registered owner does not appear at time and place prescribed in the summons, and fails to enter a guilty plea and pay the fine before the said prescribed time, the Municipal Court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the registered owner, who may be fined up to fifty dollars ($50.00) and held for up to five (5) days in the municipal jail.

(3) Hearing.  A hearing shall be held by the Municipal Court at the time and place prescribed in the summons.  Upon a determination by the Municipal Court that a violation has occurred, the Court shall order the person found to have been operating the vehicle to pay the fine set out in Section 4(A) above.  The Municipal Court shall have the additional authority to impose any court costs which may be allowable by Alabama law upon a conviction after hearing or upon receiving a guilty plea after the issuance of the summons.

(4) Failure to Pay Court Ordered Fine and Costs.  If, after the hearing, the Municipal Court orders the payment of the fine and/or costs set out in Section 4(B)(3) above, and the person so ordered to pay fails to pay the said amounts, the Municipal Court may enforce the said order in accordance with Rule 26.11 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure as well as any other law, whether state, federal, or local which may empower the court to enforce the said order.

(C)  The Mayor of the City of Montgomery, or his duly appointed designee, shall have the authority to enter upon private property for the purpose of ticketing an offending vehicle found parked in violation of this ordinance.

(D)  This ordinance shall become effective June 1, 2009.  

ADOPTED:  April 7, 2009

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