City gives initial OK to new game-day parking rules

Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:28 p.m.

The City Commission has given initial approval to additional rules for football game-day parking in neighborhoods near the University of Florida.

With the opening game against the Toledo Rockets only two weeks away, the city will not enforce the rules until the 2014 season.

The first reading of the ordinance to add the rules passed 4-2 Thursday, with Mayor Ed Braddy and Commissioner Todd Chase in dissent and Yvonne Hinson-Rawls absent.

It has to come back for a second commission vote for final approval.

The new regulations will apply in neighborhoods around campus such as College Park when the homeowner or tenant charges for game-day yard parking.

The new rules will 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.

-- 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 be picked up by 6 p.m. the day after the game.

-- Require any portable toilets 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.

-- Limit signs advertising parking to one on-site sign no more than six square feet in size.

-- Limit the parking area to private property.

-- Require signed authorization of a property owner for the city to issue a permit.

Violations would bring a $250 code enforcement fine.

The limitation on parking hours would curtail some late-night tailgating activities and festivities since vehicles cannot be accessed after midnight or three hours after the end of a game — whichever is later.

Speaking against the regulations on Thursday, Braddy said there were thousands of tailgaters and only a few "bad actors." He said he felt the city could enforce existing laws to address problems instead of turning it into "regulation nation."

There was some impromptu debate on curb jumping by vehicles. It is, by city law, not allowed and plans were to enforce that during game days. Chase, raising the issue of selective enforcement, showed trucks parked on the downtown plaza during the Wednesday farmers market.

Commissioners Lauren Poe and Thomas Hawkins then pressed staff to enforce the prohibition on curb jumping during the Wednesday farmers market, saying vehicles should not be driving where people walk.

Chase said that was not the reaction he sought or the point he was trying to make. In a reference to the classic "Star Wars" films, he questioned if he'd performed a Jedi mind trick on himself.

"I want people to be able to curb-hop and park in yards on game days," he said.

Hawkins said he felt the rules clearly identified activities that were not allowed and struck a balance between protecting the neighborhood and letting game-day tailgating festivities continue.

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