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Tougher parking and public safety tow laws passed
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Rockdale County received a new parking ordinance after the board unanimously approved a proposal for the new law Tuesday morning.

The new regulation gives sheriff deputies the right to require individuals to move their vehicles if the deputy determines the vehicle is causing an immediate safety hazard or if the vehicle would prevent public safety vehicles from traveling on otherwise accessible passages.
Deputies also have the right to move the hazardous vehicle to the nearest vehicle impound or other place of safety if the person in charge of the vehicle is unable or refuses to immediately move it.

A "No Parking" sign does not have to be in the area for deputies to act in accordance with this law.

"We've added a section called 'Parking Not To Obstruct Traffic,'" said Planning and Development Director Marshall Walker to the board during the Tuesday morning meeting. "It gives more clarification and responsibilities of the sheriff department."

Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Oden said this law was too important to wait for a second read and made the recommendation that it should be approved immediately.

The motion to approve the first reading of the new ordinance and waive the second reading was made by Post 2 Commissioner JaNice Van Ness.

The old parking law drew scrutiny from local officials after residents living in East Irwin Estates complained about the obstructive parking in their neighborhood. The parking problems were mostly caused by people attending parties at a rental house in the neighborhood.

Some residents said that deputies called to handle the situation told them there was nothing they could do to prevent the parking because no laws were being broken.
Old Salem Estates resident Annise Mabry, 39, has been one of the residents to voice her displeasure with the parking situation in her neighborhood, but told The News she's pleased that the commissioners acted quickly on this topic.

"I'm happy they moved quickly to approve this," said Mabry. "What I appreciate is everybody working really hard to remedy this problem."

While appreciative of the new parking law, Mabry doesn't think this alone will stop large parties from happening at the rental house. She also wants to see the laws governing how residential homes being used for rental homes stricter as well.

"I support the ordinance, but it won't stop the parties," said Mabry. "It will give us the ability to shut the party down."