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Pave it or pay it

ParkingOn Oct. 8, the Valdosta City Council made changes to the Stopping, Standing, and Parking Ordinance (2009-43) at the City Council Meeting.
The ordinance now more clearly defines illegal parking and better explains the material that can be used for driveways and limitations on parking in front yards, according to the Valdosta City Website.
Before the ordinance was changed, each home was limited to only five automobiles in what the ordinance refers to as “improved parking surface,” which is basically the driveway. No automobiles were allowed to park in the front yard.
The ordinance now limits each home to only five automobiles, water crafts, non-motorized campers or trailers. No automobiles, water crafts, non-motorized campers or trailers are allowed to be in the front yard outside of the “improved parking surface.”
The previous ordinance left the definition of improved parking surface slightly vague. The amended ordinance defines it as asphalt, concrete, gravel, pavers, or approved organic material that fits into a defined area set off by pavers, crossties, timbers, etc.
The amount of front lawn that can be used as a parking surface changed from 25 percent to 20 percent, according to Von Shipman, City Engineer.�
The ordinance applies only to residents within the residential parking overlay district, which includes neighborhoods in close proximity to Valdosta State.
Mayor John Fretti and other city council members approved the ordinance in hopes that it will help to limit the number of unrelated people living in a single-family home, according to a City of Valdosta press release.
The city council hopes that the changes to the Stopping, Standing, and Parking Ordinance will help preserve Valdosta’s established neighborhoods and communities, according to the press release.
“The Stopping, Standing, & Parking Ordinance was adopted to improve enforcement challenges in some stable single family neighborhoods that have continued to feel the impacts of multiple persons living in traditional single-family homes with some of them, creating parking and nuisance issues as a result,” according to the Valdosta City Website.
VSU students within the Residential Parking Overlay aren’t as open to the new ordinance.
“I live within walking distance to campus and our driveway can barely hold two cars on the ‘designated surface,’” Brandon Whitehead, senior criminal justice major said. “There are four people that live in my house which means four cars plus friends that we have over. So this is a great concern to me because I want my friends to be able to come over without having to worry about getting a $75 ticket.”
Thirty three citations were issued in September, according to Mike Meyer, City Marshal.
The citations are places on the vehicle and first time offenders are fined $75.
Second time offenders are fined $150; third time offenders are fined $300, according to the Valdosta City Web site.

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