Work From Home

After Couple Has Car Towed in Front of Home, Council to look at Revisions of Parking Ordinance

After Couple Has Car Towed in Front of Home, Council to look at Revisions of Parking Ordinance

A couple on Ninth Avenue has complained that their licensed vehicle has been towed from a location in front of their home. According to the letter, the vehicle had been ticketed for an “over 48 hour” violation.

Since they work from home and have experienced numerous garage break ins, “[we] don’t feel particularly safe leaving a car there, so both of us park on the street (as does everyone else on our block),” the letter said.

Even though they were apparently at home, one vehicle was towed, resulting in the requirement to pay fees plus a towing bill to get the vehicle back.

Responding to the incident, an amendment has been placed on council’s Monday agenda for first reading that would enlarge to 15 days the parking of a licensed, registered vehicle with no outstanding tickets in front or near the owner’s home.

Previously, HNN wrote and council heard of an ill  Vietnam Veteran having his mom’s otherwise legally licensed car towed from in front of their home. He did not have funds to pay the towing bills, all he retrieved were some contents from the car.  (Mr. Thompson has since passed away).

Councilman Gary Bunn indicated such an accommodation would encourage parking on the street. Streets are for  driving, not parking, he said. adding that vehicle owners should have off street parking.

Council woman Joyce Clark asked “how do we enforce” the new rule?

Council woman Rebecca Thacker is sponsoring the ordinance following complaints from residents, and, the possibility  of towing a parked homeowner’s car from in front of their residence.

At the work session, she noted that an owner could leave on vacation or be hospitalized resulting in their vehicle(s) not being driven.

Council chairman Mark Bates appeared to favor an amendment but noted that tweaks are necessary. He suggested that on Monday the ordinance be referred to the Public Safety Committee for discussion. Among the questions: How the police currently enforce the rule. how will code enforcement be informed that the parked car belongs to a home owner, how to prevent selective enforcement such as towing/ticketing mostly vehicles about which complaints have been received, and concerns about street cleaning. 

Though not raised at the work session, Bunn implied a preference for residents not parking their vehicles on the street in front of their home. The letter writer indicated they chose street parking as safer than their garage. Not mentioned: What about circumstances where the owners/renters are not afforded any off-street parking at their venue? In addition to selective enforcement, do such provisions reach equal protection clause rights through potential class discrimination?  Do more middle and lower income vehicle owners park on the street than high income vehicle owners whose newer housing often has a driveway and a garage?