Residents say Grovetown parking ordinance unfair

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner

August 14, 2006

Parking problems in one town have some neighbors more than a little upset that their lawns are filling up with cars.

A newly enforced Grovetown city ordinance says you can't park vehicles on the curb of any two-way street within city limits.

That affects a lot of homes, and tonight homeowners spoke out against a law they say is unfair.

It was a long night tonight for Grovetown's city council as unhappy residents spoke out, arguing over where they can park cars at their homes.

"It's a mess!" Judy Brooks said. "Our lawn has been burnt!"

Brooks says her lawn is ruined with her family's cars on the grass. Many other cars in the Willowick neighborhood are on the grass too. Jayson Newton's truck sits in his front yard--where his six children are now struggling to play.

"This is a public street that we, the city taxpayers of Grovetown, pay for," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is a public space that we own."

It all started with an ordinance passed back in May of 2005 that did not go into effect until recently.

An amendment to a previous ordinance reads, "No vehicle can stop, stand or park on the curb or shoulder of any two way road."

Mayor Trudeau says it's for everyone's safety.

"We're concerned about kids darting out behind these cars parked up and down these streets," he said. "It's not safe."

Captain Owens with Grovetown Public Safety is heading up enforcement of the new rules.

"We went neighborhood to neighborhood, and it took three to four months, and to this date there's been no complaints but total compliance except for the Willowood neighborhood," he said.

Captain Owens showed us a photo taken a few months ago on South Willowick where Judy Brooks lives. You can count seven cars and a camper parked on the street. But a photo from Haynie Street clearly paints a different picture.

Captain Owens says streets with lots of cars block emergency vehicles.

But Judy Brooks says it's unfair

"We got no warning, no vote, no discussion at city hall--nothing," she said. "They just did it. We're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, because you want to obey the laws, but let's make the law reasonable and fair."

Mayor Trudeau said at tonight's meeting that his council will revisit the ordinance and talk it over with their lawyers. For now, he says the parking ordinance will stand as is and probably will not change in the future other than some minor tweaking.

Grovetown Public Safety is trying to avoid fines for violators for the time being. They are going door to door to warn violators. The next step for some has been an orange warning sticker on the cars. If residents still refuse to move their cars off the streets, they will face fines of about $150, but no tickets have been issued yet.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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