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Hartselle Enquirer

City bans unwanted overnight parking

The City of Hartselle is cracking down on unwanted overnight parking of vehicles on public and private parking lots.
Specifically, a new ordinance, which passed unanimously Tuesday night by the Hartselle City Council, bans people from sleeping in their cars on any public parking lot or any private parking lot without consent from the owner.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the city has received complaints about people sleeping in their cars overnight in public parking lots, but the city didn’t have a way to prevent it from happening because there was no law against it.
“Our trespassing ordinance doesn’t apply because it’s public property,” Tankersley said. “We had to take steps to address the issue.”
City attorney Larry Madison said that the ordinance states that a car cannot be parked in a parking lot for more than two hours on public or private parking lots. However, it doesn’t apply to those who are carpooling or shopping in downtown.
“If your wife says she’ll be back in two hours and it’s three, then you’re not violating the ordinance,” Madison said.
In addition to parking lots, Madison said the ordinance applies to the right of way on city streets.
Those in violation of the ordinance will be charged with a misdemeanor and will spend up to 72 hours in jail unless the offender can post bond.
The offense is punishable by a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Police Chief Ron Puckett said this ordinance will help keep this from happening again.
“I think it will be a nice deterrent to prevent this from happening,” he said.

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