Rockdale parking law changes address party houses

CONYERS — Rockdale officials on Tuesday approved changes to the county’s parking ordinance designed to curtail the use of residential rental properties as venues for large gatherings.

The county acted swiftly after it became apparent that at least one house in the county was being rented out on a weekend basis for poker parties and other gatherings that were advertised on the Internet. County commissioners discussed the proposed parking changes at a work session on Aug. 5. A week later, they voted unanimously to approve the parking changes, waived the second reading of the ordinance, and signed it into law.

The changes, which were recommended last week by Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Freeman, allow the RCSO to make temporary rules addressing traffic congestion at events that draw a large number of vehicles. In addition, the new ordinance allows deputies to address a “large assemblage of vehicles” that are deemed to be a public safety hazard or that would prevent public safety vehicles from passing through. In those instances, deputies could require the driver to move the vehicle out of the way or have the vehicle impounded if the driver or owner cannot be found or refuses to cooperate.

The parking ordinance changes were prompted after a resident in East Irwin subdivision videotaped dozens of cars parked in front of a house on a weekend night when an event was held. She posted the video on Facebook, stating that it wasn’t the first time that such an event had been held there.

County officials looked into the matter and found that the house was owned by an investor who owns at least 11 other properties in Rockdale County. Four of them were advertised for rent.