City Council working on parking rules

COVINGTON -- It appears at least half the City Council has reached a consensus on how to regulate parking of commercial vehicles in residential districts.

Three council members and the mayor were present at a Thursday afternoon work session on the subject that ended with the following consensus:

* Vehicles greater than a Class 3, or 14,000 pounds, should be prohibited from parking in residential districts.

* School and church buses and government vehicles would be exempt; recreational vehicles would not.

* No construction equipment would be allowed.

* Any vehicles may be parked in residential districts if they are parked in a fully enclosed structure.

City Attorney Ed Crudup will create a draft ordinance for the council to formally approve at a later meeting. Present council members were Mike Whatley, Hawnethia Williams and Chris Smith. Keith Dalton, Janet Goodman and Ocie Franklin were absent.

City officials have been trying to reach an agreement on a new ordinance for several months. A draft ordinance that was rejected by the council would have allowed vehicles of up to 19,500 pounds and 25 feet. Council members said Monday they did not want to impose a length limit.

Smith said he wanted to prohibit overnight parking on the streets for all vehicles, but Mayor Kim Carter said that could be a problem for families with multiple vehicles that don't have enough driveway space to park.

"I have a little heartburn about limiting parking on the street," she said.

The consensus was to let Georgia Rules of the Road, which prohibit impeding the flow of traffic, apply and be enforced.

At its Oct. 4 meeting, the council suspended enforcement of the city's current ordinance, which prohibits parking of any vehicle over 2,000 pounds without an enclosed structure on property less than 3 acres, given that some personal vehicles could be in violation of that regulation and pending a final decision on the ordinance. Since that time there have been reports of numerous commercial vehicles being parked in residential areas and possibly business operations being run illegally in residential ares. Carter recommended the council revisit the suspension at its next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.