Alabaster may ban parking in front and side yards

The Alabaster City Council is considering a ban on parking vehicles in the front or side yards of houses. (Contributed)

The Alabaster City Council is considering a ban on parking vehicles in the front or side yards of houses. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council will look to the public for input on Dec. 8 before it decides if it will ban parking vehicles in residential front and side yards, council members said during a Nov. 10 meeting.

Council members have discussed the matter for the past several weeks, and have drafted a proposed ordinance calling for the prohibition of parking vehicles in front and side yards unless they are on a paved driveway surface.

Ward 4 Councilman Rick Walters has been a proponent of the ordinance, and said he receives regular calls from residents expressing concerns about vehicles parked in yards.

“It’s the number-one complaint I have. Of all the issues to come up, this one outnumbers the others two to one,” Walters said during an interview after the meeting.

Walters’ said the issue arises more in the city’s older neighborhoods, many of which are in his ward.

“I think our attorney has done a good job of coming up with an ordinance that is good and balanced,” Walters said.

If it passes, the ordinance will prohibit parking “any motor vehicle in a front or side yard on any lot or parcel in any residential district on the city that has an existing driveway.”

The ordinance does not apply to temporary visitors at a residence and vehicles parked in a front or side yard temporarily for loading or unloading purposes.

Those found in violation of the parking ordinance by a city police officer will receive a ticket, and must pay a $25 fine within 10 days of receiving the citation.

If the vehicle owner does not respond within 10 days, the city will send a second warning ordering the person to appear in court within seven days. If the person does not appear in court or pay the $25 fine within seven days, the fine will jump to $50.

If the vehicle owner disregards the second warning letter, they will be subject to arrest on a failure to appear charge.

Not all City Council members are in favor of the proposed ordinance.

“I’m a big proponent of personal property rights,” Ward 5 Councilman Russell Bedsole said after the meeting.

The council will hold a public hearing on the matter during its Dec. 8 meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall.