Parking in Marion yards could ultimately result in jail time after Marion City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting it Monday night, but they appeared reluctant to impose strict enforcement.
Violators can be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $300 plus three days in jail for a third offense.
Council members batted around how firmly the ordinance should be enforced, clearly preferring that police work with residents before writing tickets.
City Administrator Roger Holter suggested officers meet with residents to let them know they are violating the ordinance and see if the problem can be resolved before enforcing the policy.
“Is it OK to park on your side yard as long as you’re not using the curb?” Council Member Chad Adkins asked.
Holter said that would not violate the ordinance.
At the Jan. 4 council meeting, Holter told council members numerous complaints had been made about people parking on front lawns.
At Monday’s meeting, Holter said a number of people had come to the city office with concerns about how the ordinance would affect them.
Holter showed council members photos of curb damage and storm drainage problems caused by the practice during Monday’s discussion.
Parks and Recreation Director Margo Yates told council members the city needs to use the word “inoperable” when describing parked vehicles, since the vehicles in the photos were clearly in inoperable condition.
Holter responded that the city doesn’t have authority to make an ordinance against inoperable vehicles on private property.
Ordinance 1400 reads that vehicles need to be parked on an improved parking space, not the front or side yard of residential property. Temporary parking for loading or unloading property or passengers, or vehicles of licensed contractors, public utilities or emergency services are exceptions to the ordinance.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the measure.
Council members also voted to allow city employees to assist with removal of trees from a lot owned by VFW Post 6958 that the organization hopes to turn into a park for use by both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Mayor Todd Heitschmidt pointed out during the meeting that three additional candidates have filed for the April city council election. John Wheeler, Melissa Mermis, and Michel Soyez have thrown their hats into the ring.
In other matters, the council:
- Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Cazadore’s, and
- Approved an additional charge for installing a double vault at the city cemetery.