Our View: Common-sense parking laws

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:17 AM

Editorial Board

The dispute in Layton in which a man is ready to go to jail rather than pay a violation fee for parking a vehicle on his lawn underscores the need for common-sense enforcement of local parking laws.

Todd Harris, 59, is a bail bondsman with six kids and several vehicles at his home. Layton law states no vehicles can be parked on the lawn of homes. Harris’ efforts to comply with the law despite having several vehicles, family as well as work-related, have led to his receiving tickets. Hence his current dispute with the city.

The intent of cities having these types of parking laws are to make sure that homeowners don’t have non-running “dead” vehicles on their lawns, or are “collecting” a number of vehicles that are clearly too many to keep on one property. Those seem like legitimate concerns for cities, and we support laws to prevent such practices.

However, the current dispute in Layton seems to be a perfect opportunity for cities to make sure that their parking ordinances are enforced in a common-sense manner. If working vehicles are needed for family and business responsibilities, and it’s clear that such vehicles are being used, why not allow a vehicle to be parked on the lawn if there’s a good reason for it? Why punish a homeowner for making the best use of his or her property?

Immovable, “dead” vehicles are distinct from vehicles that are used frequently for legitimate purposes. The Harris case in Layton has the potential to move that city, and perhaps others, to make sure that the parking codes that are enforced are not designed to hassle homeowners who need more than two or three working vehicles.

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