No Parking On The Dance Floor (But It’s Okay In The Streets)


I found something very, very interesting today. I’m sure you have all seen these signs here in La Vergne. You know the ones, I’m talking about, the ones that say you can’t park on the street:

So I thought, 15-604, huh? I went and looked it up. Here’s exactly what City Ordinance 15-604 says:

15-604. Where prohibited. No person shall park a vehicle in violation of any sign placed or erected by the state or city, nor:

(1) On a sidewalk;

(2) In front of a public or private drivesway;

(3) Within an intersection or within fifteen (15) feet thereof;

(4) Within fifteen (15) feet of a fire hydrant;

(5) Within a pedestrian crosswalk;

(6) Within fifty (50) feet of a railroad crossing;

(7) Within twenty (20) feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station, and on the side of the street opposite the entrance to any fire station within seventy-five (75) feet of the entrance;

(8) Alongside or opposite any street excavation or obstruction when other traffic would be obstructed;

(9) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(10) Upon any bridge;

(11) Alongside any curb painted yellow or red by the city.

Hmmmmmm…. does that look like, to you, that that bans parking on the streets? Sure, it says “in violation of any sign” but the sign says that ordinance 15-604 bans parking on the street and IT DOES NOT. In fact, if you look at the entirety of Section 15 in the La Vergne Municipal Codes, you see that 15-601 tells you how you can legally park. Check it:

15-601. Generally. No person shall leave any motor vehicle unattended on any street without first setting the brakes thereon, stopping the motor, removing the ignition key, and turning the front wheels of such vehicle toward the nearest curb or gutter of the street. Except as hereinafter provided, every vehicle parked upon a street within the City of La Vergne shall be so parked that its right wheels are approximately parallel to and within eighteen (18) inches of the right edge or curb of the street. Notwithstanding anything else in this code to the contrary, no person shall park or leave a vehicle parked on any public street or alley within the fire limits between the hours of 1:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M.* or on any other public street or alley for more than seventy-two (72) consecutive hours without the prior approval of the chief of police.
Furthermore, no person shall wash, grease, or work on any vehicle, except to make repairs necessitated by an emergency, while such vehicle is parked on a public street. (1994 Code, § 15-601)

So, let me ask you this. If it is illegal to park on the street in La Vergne, why does the municipal code spend an entire section telling you how to park legally? I believe the only possible interpretation is that parking on the street in La Vergne is not illegal, unless you are violating any of the rules in this code.

I have spent several hours tonight looking through the codes in pubrec and at MTAS and looking through ordinances to see if there was something I had missed, but I just couldn’t find anything else. If anyone knows of anything and wants to prove me wrong, please do. But as far as I can tell, there isn’t anything.

Here’s the thing. The last time this ordinance was changed was in 2009, to add the section which (oddly) allows people who are having a party to get a permit to allow people to park in the street. (Scroll down to section 15-608) Okay, but WHERE does it outlaw parking in the street? This is what is so frustrating about our old administration, why would you do the job halfway? Not change the ordinance to specifically disallow people to park on the street, instead slap up signs saying parking in the street is not allowed? Who would look up the actual ordinance, they probably thought. Well, me, I finally looked it up.

I support the ordinance banning parking in the yards. You can say all day that the government shouldn’t intrude on people’s property rights and that people should be able to do whatever they want to with their yards. But if I put a 50-foot naked statue of me in my front yard and a giant billboard in my backyard with a picture of Keith Richards on it, would that not hurt your property value? What if I then added a fence and put 50 vicious dogs in there? See, I believe your right to do whatever you want on your property ends, when it affects other people. And these people who are parking a bunch of cars on their lawns every single day, are definitely hurting property values.

I applaud our current board and the Codes department for trying to clean up the city. I am glad to see they see a problem and are working to fix it. But the fact is that a long time ago, someone in the administration allowed the developers to put houses right smack up against each other with very little parking, and then slapped up signs saying parking isn’t allowed in the streets because it IS hard or impossible for emergency vehicles to get through when there are cars parked on both sides of the road. I know on my own street I can hardly get my small sedan through when people are parked on both sides of the street. Something has got to be done. Some kind of compromise has got to be met. Until then, I’ll be parking in the street, just because I can.

*Fire Limits, as I understand them, are districts where it is required that buildings are made from less flammable materials because of their close proximity. This apparently dates back to the Chicago Fire. I also thought it might be possible that when they refer to the fire limits, they are talking about the area of La Vergne where the Fire Department services. If that is true, it IS illegal to park on the street between 1 and 5 AM.

 

17 comments for “No Parking On The Dance Floor (But It’s Okay In The Streets)

  1. March 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Actually I hate to say that the previous administrations didn’t half ass it at all. The ordinance as you posted says “No person shall park a vehicle in violation of any sign placed or erected by the state or city, nor:”

    This statment says that if there is a sign then do what sign says. They left it open so they could do what they wanted. So point being.. there is a sign.. therefore you can’t park on the street.

    Not saying it’s right or wrong but it is in black and white.

    • Ivy
      March 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      I disagree. If there were signs stating “no parking between here and the curb”, that would be clear. But it just says no parking on city roadways and refers to the ordinance. The ordinance says don’t park in violation of a sign. It’s like an endless loop. And again, why have a whole section telling you how to park legally and then throw up signs saying you can’t park anywhere on the streets? That’s a MESS.

      • March 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        but the ordinance says to obey the sign.. So technically if it said toyotas can’t park here then that has the force of the law through the ordinance.

        • Ivy
          March 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

          At best, it is confusing. If they had stripped out section 15-601 where it goes into detail telling you how it is okay to park on the streets, I could agree with you more, however I think having an entire section about how to legally park on the streets and then throwing up signs saying it’s illegal to park on the streets, which then refers back to an ordinance that just says obey the sign, is opening the city up to a lotta bad stuff. They need to fix that one way or the other.

          • March 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm

            Ah I gottcha.. yeah they need to repeal 15-601

    • Thomas
      March 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

      If I received a ticket, I would appeal it under the “void for vagueness doctrine” which states that a given statute or ordinance is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand.

  2. Freida
    March 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    A couple of points I want to respond to in this.
    1st: I’m also of a “split” mind on this. I totally understand how difficult it is to drive down the street when people are parked on the street. However, as you note, some of the houses in this town barely have room to park 1 car…they better not be a 2 car family or ever have friends visit! While I do understand the idea of hurting property values, at some point, reality has to come into play. If I only have room in my “drive” to park 1 vehicle and there are 2 or more vehicles in my home and I am in danger of being ticketed or having my vehicle destroyed if I park on the street…what am I to do? Just parking in my yard should not be illegal. A parked car, that is there while not in use but is used, is not an eyesore. That comes into play when junked or inoperative cars are parked in drives, yards etc. At that point, there should be ordinances to control that. Me parking in my yard because my husband got home before me and took the only place provided by the builder for us to park should not be illegal.
    2nd:I think it should be administrationS when you are talking about how things got to this point. I’ve been here through more than 1, or even 3 administrations and the “law” has been around longer than I’ve been here. Since there is rarely a complete changeover in persons on the Board, that finger gets pointed at past and present administrations, in regard to letting developers have free rein and in not clarifying the ordinances, imo.

    • Ivy
      March 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      You’re right, it has been many previous administrations and several of the very people who passed some of this still sit on the board. And it’s not one car parked in a yard that I have a problem with, it’s the torn up yard when those cars are not there, or like MANY of my neighbors, the 4 cars parked in their yard. I do marvel at their ability to park in such a tight space and not hit anything.

  3. Kitti
    March 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    See, with all this kerfuffle I still just giggle over the fact that the signs were originally made with bad grammar – unnecessary apostrophes. Then they went back and peeled them off, but you can still see the space where the apostrophes were.

  4. David
    March 25, 2012 at 12:22 am

    You’re reading the law wrong.

    15-601 tells you how you must park your car (what you must do) should you park on the street. It’s not granting you the authority to park on the street, only specifying the limitations.

    15-604 limits where you can park and where you cannot park. Specifically the law states to follow any sign posted by the city that provides a specific instruction, otherwise to follow the ordinance as written.

    The signs posted are not instructions, they’re notifications of the ordinance, so they do not replace the ordinance they only make citizens aware of it’s existence. Without the signs most people wouldn’t know until ticketed.

    The ordinance takes precedence only in absence of additional instruction. For example, according to the law if a sign was posted on your easement that stated “no parking here to intersection” then 15-604 covers all the property that the sign does not cover. the sign covers the rest. Seeing as the sign and 15-604 achieve the same thing the sign is not necessary.

    However, if a sign is placed that states “Parking allowed on shoulder to intersection” the sign replaced 15-604. follow the sign.

    I don’t see how this is confusing, 15-601 states your restrictions if you park on a street. If a sign is posted telling you that you can park on a street somewhere, you have to follow 15-601 as written. otherwise the law isn’t even a concern because 15-604 prohibits parking on a street.

    The only thing I would suggest is that 15-604 is taken up to modify the language to include the exemption for property owners that obtain a temporary permit instead of having it as separate language in 15-608 (or otherwise reference 15-608)

    Just to state that again, since reading comprehension seems to be a thing these days:

    15-601: if allowed, here’s how you must do it.
    15-604: not allowed unless a sign posts otherwise.

    • Read Again
      April 9, 2012 at 1:58 am

      15-604. Where prohibited. No person shall park a vehicle in violation of any sign placed or erected by the state or city, nor:

      No where does this say that you have to look for a sign giving permission. Quite the opposite, the signs that would prohibit parking would state “No Parking.”

      15-604: not allowed unless a sign posts otherwise: incorrect…

  5. Interesting Thought
    March 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    If you are parked in accordance with 15-601, and are not violating any of the areas stipulated in 15-604, you are parking on the road legally.
    The sign shown does not state ” No Parking,” the sign states that 15-604 Prohibits parking on the roadway, but there are only 11 areas where you cannot park. Unless there is a sign posted that says “No Parking,” which the signs posted do not say.
    Simple English Comprehension.
    Solution: Change the signs, simple.

    • neal-n-bob
      April 2, 2012 at 6:50 am

      I have an idea…….fire the codes dept. And start OVER!! Apparently they don’t do their job anyway. Their director says you can do one thing and the signs and attorney says something different. I smell a lawsuit with him as Director!!

      • Doug E. Doug
        April 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm

        Can I fire Neal or Bob? Nobody has won the one, maybe two lawsuits (if that) filed over the last 4-5 years against the Codes Dept., with the exception of the personnel matter of the FORMER building official. Looks like to me things have straightened up amazingly in that period of time, even with employees also trying to take care of requests from the Board. Sounds like Neal or Bob need to get the other one in line and quit talking about things they don’t have any idea about. If they want to keep sounding stupid and uneducated, I guess they can continue and should stay along the same lines. It makes La Vergne look bad, though, when there are people who feel they need to create issues for controversy. It isn’t funny, it’s sad. So go ahead, Neal-n-Bob would have it you fire all the city staff. You can be left with a lot of people like Neal-n-Bob running it with no clue how to do things, and bankrupt the city with actual lawsuits “cuz we’re doin things like we wanna do, heck with that ol Constitution and TCA”. Pop Quiz (for Neal-n-Bob): Do you know what TCA stands for? (google time, fellas) That just really irritates me. I assume this will be posted because this is no more of a personal attack than calling for someone’s head.

        Rebuttal?

      • Doug E. Doug
        April 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm

        By the way, I am not the Building Official…just in case I offended anyone that was instigating and was called out in a most scathing way. I am someone who knows what is going on, and is seeing some pretty serious mistakes being made. Instead of fixing problems, heads are stuck in the sand, and other places. I wish those people the best of luck.

  6. Ben
    April 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Parking in the grass looks trashy and it tears up the grass. My neighbors used pull through the side of my house even when it wasn’t neccessary. I live over by Carothers so our streets and driveways are wider. However, every city I’ve ever been to allows street parking. It sucks sometimes to get around the car if you have to, but it’s called patients and paying attention to your surroundings when passing. I say park in the street not your yard!!!

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