The Holtville City Council took another crack at its new lawn parking ordinance on Monday night and liked the way it sounds more this time around.
The council voted unanimously to waive the first reading of a new ordinance, the first step in the process of establishing penalties for those who park on their front grass. The issue will come back before the council again at its next meeting, where local residents may give their input.
No one spoke at Monday’s meeting, nor at the one held two weeks ago where the issue was first proposed. City Manager Nick Wells said that he thought there would be a couple of residents there advocating for the ordinance, which is why city officials began considering the measure in the first place.
Most of the questions that were raised at the last meeting in September were addressed with a few minor changes in the wording of the ordinance. Among these were what constitutes a front lawn and how much grass is considered a lawn in a home that is set way back from the street.
Residents will still be able to wash their cars in the grass, provided they get it done relatively quickly and stay with it most of the time. Anyone who pulls their car onto the lawn at noon with plans to watch TV until it cools off enough in the evening to wash the vehicle stands a good chance of being ticketed.
There was some question of how this ordinance will differ from the 72-hour parking laws, which limit the owner of a vehicle to three days in the same spot on the street. The new ordinance will allow sheriff’s deputies to issue citations that same day if it doesn’t look like a lawn-parked vehicle is being actively washed.
Wells did say that deputies will probably give residents some leeway in the first few months, issuing warnings instead of tickets. The 72-hour parking notice is just that, a notice that the vehicle must be moved, but the lawn parking is an actual citation with a $25 fine attached to it.
Councilmember Ginger Ward said that the word may be getting around already. One small multifamily dwelling that she noted always had several cars parked in the yard now has most of the vehicles lined up in the driveway.