City mulls new rules for game day neighborhood parking
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
After sitting on the sidelines for a year, proposed regulations on football game-day parking in neighborhoods near the University of Florida are going back to the City Commission this evening.
With the first game of the season only two weeks away, city staff does not plan to enforce the rules during the upcoming season, according to City Attorney Nicolle Shalley and Code Enforcement Manager Chris Cooper.
Several Saturdays each fall, the University Park neighborhood and other residential areas near campus hum with game-day tailgating activity. Grills are fired up. Beer flows. Front and back yards turn into party grounds.
But city code enforcement officials and some area residents have raised concerns over issues such as tailgating late into the night, leftover trash, overnight parking of recreational vehicles and curb-jumping cars.
The city ordinance scheduled to go to the first of two votes tonight would do the following:
-- Require a special events permit for yard parking on game days instead of the business license currently required. The cost remains $52.50 a season.
-- Require a parking plan and consent of the property owner for yard parking.
-- Allow parking from 8.a.m. to midnight or three hours after the end of the game, whichever is later. After that, vehicles may remain parked overnight but cannot be accessed or occupied.
-- Require that all trash and signs have to be picked up by 6 p.m. the day after the game.
-- Require any portable toilets to be removed by 6 p.m. on the second day after a game. They cannot be placed on site until the day before a game.
Violations would bring a $250 code enforcement fine.
City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins said he feels the proposed ordinance "strikes that balance" between letting UF football fans have fun and protecting the neighborhoods.
Mayor Ed Braddy, on the other hand, feels the added rules are an "excessive and onerous" response to limited problems with game-day parking and tailgating.
Cooper said staff plans to use this season to educate property owners and tailgating fans on the changes.
Still, the final say on the timeline for enforcement lies with the City Commission.
The commission's initial vote on the petition to move the regulations to the ordinance-drafting phase was last August. At that time, it was expected the rules would be in effect and enforced in the 2013 season. Since then, then-City Attorney Marion Radson retired and Shalley, who was working on the parking ordinance as an assistant city attorney, was promoted.
Shalley said that transition left her juggling assignments from her old post with her new responsibilities and contributed to one year passing between commission votes on the game-day parking rules.