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Commissioners approve parking enforcement

New ordinance raises fines for violations

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A proposal for the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta to enforce parking violations and use the money collected for downtown revitalization was approved with little discussion by an Augusta Commission committee Monday.

The Administrative Services Committee's recommendation that the ordinance pertaining to parking violations be amended must be approved by the full commission.

The authority, or its agents, would enforce the ordinance. It includes more parking violations and more than a dozen sections defining parking rules, such as the towing of illegally parked vehicles, wheel locks, double parking for delivery vehicles, appeals, and payment of parking fines required for vehicle registration renewal.

Failing to pay outstanding fines and penalties would be grounds for the tax commissioner to deny an offender's vehicle registration renewal application.

DDA Executive Director Margaret Woodard said the authority has discussed the ordinance for months, starting in December when it proposed installing parking meters downtown. She said people said then that they did not want meters but did want the laws enforced.

"We took the existing ordinance and just gave it some teeth," she said. "It went through all the departments, Sheriff Ronnie Strength, traffic engineering."

Currently, some people pay parking fines and some don't, she said. In the existing ordinance, the fine for improper parking is $20; parking in a handicapped zone costs between $100 and $500.

The new ordinance calls for a $25 fine for overtime parking, parking improperly, and parking on the left side of a curb, on a sidewalk or too far from a curb.

A $50 fine would be imposed for blocking a driveway or alley, double parking, parking at a yellow curb or parking in a loading zone, no-parking zone or construction zone.

Parking in a handicapped space would cost $500; blocking a handicapped curb cut would cost $200; and parking in a fire lane or by a hydrant would cost $100.

Authority agents would not have to be deputized to write the citations, Woodard said.

People who park less than two hours and follow the rules won't be affected, she added.

The downtown parking situation has become "almost critical" in recent months because construction on the TEE Center and parking deck has taken dozens of spaces away, she said.

Money collected would first be used to pay the cost and expenses of enforcement. Money left over would be retained by the DDA and used for aesthetic and economic revitalization.

If the commission OKs the ordinance, the DDA will set up an organization to work with the sheriff and the city, she said.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength was reported to be on board with the proposal, although his office would also have jurisdiction. He was out of his office Monday.

In other action

The Augusta Commission's Public Service Committee voted to reissue requests for proposals for operating the Augusta Municipal Golf Course because the first request did not yield any compliant bidders.

Recreation Director Tom Beck said that might be because golf courses across the country are struggling to make ends meet now.

Commission member Don Grantham said the requests had been sent only to companies that build golf courses and to individuals. He said the city should contact other firms that would show an interest in managing the city's course.

-- From staff reports

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dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 09/14/10 - 04:11 am
0
0
It seems to me that fining
Unpublished

It seems to me that fining people for parking is not the right thing to do,
especially if you are counting on paying your personnel out of the fine money collected. This alone will cause havoc because the enforcers will
have to write tickets to get paid. Beware, their judgement will be impaired. I remember when downtown was the shopping place and parking tickets and meters were a drivers nightmare. When the Regency
mall opened, then the Augusta mall without worrying about parking tickets and finding a parking space, it was quite apparent that the downtown mess was losing out to the malls. Now here we go again,
but this time you will run the businesses offmbecause their employees
have nowhere to park. By the way, let us not forget about the crime
and the types of characters thathang out on Broad st.

Dixieman
13869
Points
Dixieman 09/14/10 - 04:42 am
0
0
Oh, THIS will draw more

Oh, THIS will draw more people to downtown!

coco rubio
4
Points
coco rubio 09/14/10 - 04:52 am
0
0
thanks DDA... while you're at

thanks DDA... while you're at it..... maybe next you could do something about the pan handling ordinance and enforce that one too...

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/14/10 - 05:10 am
0
0
Election This is a REALLY bad

Election
This is a REALLY bad idea. I am against giving the DDA any more power or money until they show they can manage what we give them properly.

On the record, I am against this idea. It is a bad idea that will do nothing to help parking and will only hurt businesses.

What do they need more money for? More Trolley studies? More TEE center bribes? More sidewalks for DDA members? Does Steve need to put that $25K back in his safe before the election? WHAT??? Tell us?

I learned the hard way that you can't allow these folk any wiggle room. Nothing can be grey, it must be written out in black and white. This nebulous idea of how the money can be spent is a recipe for trouble with these guys.

How did they slip this one in without public input? I noticed the Maggie was able to get all the agencies to sign off on it, so if she can get that done, why can't she talk to the public about it?

I smell a big fat DDA rat!

There has been ZERO pubic input about THIS proposed ord changes but they did speak (obviously NOT loud enough) against punishing parkers in downtown during the meter debate.

I love the spin they put on this, 'Folks really DO want more parking fines so the DDA can have more money, but not through meters, so we came up with this really great plan to help us...errrr, I mean downtown grow!!'

Maggie is playing with fire in this current political climate of rebellion against the giverment...

Before anything like this goes through, it should go through the Downtown Advisory Panel that the Commission set up, made up of ACTUAL stakeholders from each group downtown, BEFORE it is taken to the commission.

I told you all that this parking thing was not over.

Maggie and the Dirty Deals Authority have their hearts set on finding alternative revenue sources through parking. More money will help her reach her goal to create such a large number of giverment employees working for the DDA so that they too will have power to force the commission to keep them afloat.

This is a bad idea, at a super bad time, and the people should let their reps know they oppose giving the DDA ay more power or money until they act in a proper manner with the hundreds of thousands of dollars from the general fund they get now.

The business owners downtown have already had a special tax put on them that got the CADIs (oh so clever golf pun) and was supposed to be the silver bullet to massive development. That has not happened.

Now we see that the DDA wants to charge MORE money and take over enforcement for the city.

I am sure this will not go over well and I expect a rather large number of business owners to be making calls to their commissioner trying to get this recovery killing proposal stopped.

Only the DDA would think that raising taxes/fees on customers coming and parking downtown is something good in today's economy.

Just remember, Maggie's paycheck is OUR general fund tax dollars and she makes more than the mayor does while doing even less than Deke the 'Meek' to earn it.

Knowing Augusta, this will pass and people will have another reason not to come downtown.

Good Luck with that one,

Brad

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 09/14/10 - 05:19 am
0
0
Enforcing parking rules and

Enforcing parking rules and regulations seems like the right idea. No special privileges beyond double parking delivery vehicles. Employees from a neighboring business blocking the two hour parking space in front of your business is one of the problems. Illegal parking in handicap spaces and blocking handicap access ramps is another problem, and so is sidewalk parking.
This isn't the same as metered parking and it certainly isn't the same situation that led to the migration to the malls (an idea that didn't work for most businesses). This is enforcement of existing regulations that makes parking less of a nightmare and allows short-term parkers more ready access to businesses.

corgimom
30081
Points
corgimom 09/14/10 - 05:24 am
0
0
How can a DDA enforce parking

How can a DDA enforce parking laws on public streets? How do they have the authority to put boots on cars?

How is this Constitutional?

I see a court case coming on this one.

Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 09/14/10 - 06:06 am
0
0
Good point Corgi. Seems odd

Good point Corgi. Seems odd that the commission could pass a parking enforcement policy but can't or rather won't address the nuisance property issue. Using this theory, why not allow neighborhood associations to enforce property codes. The money from the fines could be used to help pay for the enforcement and the excess could be used to clean up common areas in that neighborhood.

augusta citizen
8968
Points
augusta citizen 10/19/12 - 04:52 pm
0
0
..

..

disssman
6
Points
disssman 09/14/10 - 07:17 am
0
0
"Just in case our

"Just in case our commissioners have forgotten their oaths of office to support the laws of the city, the following is provided from the official code which is the responsibility of the Law Dwpartment.

"The City Council of Augusta, after a thorough study and investigation, has heretofore determined that it is desirable and necessary that a Downtown Development Authority be activated to function in the City with the powers granted it by the Act to issue revenue bonds and bond anticipation notes for the purpose of providing funds to finance the cost of rehabilitation and redevelopment of the central business district of the City."

Now I didn't notice any sign off by the legal department on Margies plan. And I am wondering what parking has to do with revenue bonds?

Try it folks. Go to the city web, click on the legal department, click on city coe and read how this organization is supposed to be established. To start with there are supposed to be 7 directors, we have 8 with margaret and the chairman being Number 1 and 1, further "no director is supposed to receive a salary" and finally all expenses sre to be reimbursable only. Well that is the code, but apparently your elected incumbent dosen't know or refusses to follow the code for the city.

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/14/10 - 07:16 am
0
0
JC, I agree there should be

JC,

I agree there should be enforcement, but that is NOT the role of the DDA. Just look at it's charter and the State law that created the DDA's in Georgia.

Also, an overwhelming MAJORITY are opposed to increased fees or parker harassment. Doesn't the wishes of the small bussiness owners, actual people who will be affected by this, count for anything?

This is WAAAAAAAAY off the reservation.

If this is something that needs to be done, but done by someone other than the DDA.

They should look at the way the old city did it for guidance.

Junket831, GREAT point huh? They can ram through crapola like this but create all sorts of 'questions' surrounding the nuisance issue.

GREAT POINT

Brad Owens
4178
Points
Brad Owens 09/14/10 - 07:21 am
0
0
augusta citizen, They see

augusta citizen,

They see themselves as above the law. They quote the State law when they are challenged by locals and run to the local law when challenegd on the code surronding their mission.

The commission needs to reject this outright and tell the DDA to backoff the parking issue until the economic situation turns around in the US.

This is about empire building inside our giverment. It is about creating an org that cannot be taken apart. Without stuff like this, the DDA is just another line item waiting to be cut. And it should be cut.

Brad

paulwheeler
122
Points
paulwheeler 09/14/10 - 07:38 am
0
0
Let the sheriff's department

Let the sheriff's department do this job. We need more deputies anyway, this additional revenue can fund them. Also do away with that useless and ridiculous DDA, and use that money to fund more deputies. We certainly need law enforcement much more than we need Woodward and company. This is one more of a slew of useless boards and authorities that we can no longer afford, as if we really ever needed this one.

Little Lamb
44884
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/10 - 08:01 am
0
0
Am I the only person in

Am I the only person in Augusta who feels that there is no bona fide parking problem downtown? I go downtown often. I go during the week, on the weekends, and in the evenings. I have never had a problem parking. Of course, I do not expect to be so lucky to be able to park in the exact location that is closest to the business I wish to patronize. I realize that I might need to walk a few steps after I get out of the car. Does Margaret Woodard see herself as the Queen of the May who should always have a parking space available whereever she wants the space to be?

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 09/14/10 - 08:14 am
0
0
Dont we have a sheriffs

Dont we have a sheriffs department to handle these matters? Doesnt the DDA need to be focused on something other than parking meters, parking enforcement? As a downtown business person, I see no parking problem down here, and I am here every day. Go to Charleston SC where they have actual parking issues, and they make it work. Granted, they use meters throughout the City, but they also have a VERY vibrant downtown core.

"Money collected would first be used to pay the cost and expenses of enforcement."

Isnt this a waste of resources?

"Money left over would be retained by the DDA and used for aesthetic and economic revitalization."

Right

It seems to me that the most successful DDA leaders I have been involved with were those "cheerleader" types who made things happen in the businesses they represent. They found grant dollars, chased TE grants, organized special days for downtown. All Ms Woodard seems to be interested in is driving people away with negative laws, meters, etc.

In this economy, I would almost encourage double parking if you get my drift. And to penalize delivery vehicles for double parking is the voice of someone who obviously doesn't understand the urban core.

ENCOURAGE business Ms Woodard,............You are doing it wrong.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 09/14/10 - 08:16 am
0
0
Come on you guys...when the

Come on you guys...when the parking meter idea was brought everyone said.."we have parking laws why can't they just enforce them?"...so now they are going to do just that...........if you do not do anything illegal whats your beef? Allowing those who do break the law a free pass is what is wrong with this whole Country............Enforce!

john
930
Points
john 09/14/10 - 08:34 am
0
0
whats parking on the left

whats parking on the left side of the curb?

fontana
0
Points
fontana 09/14/10 - 09:11 am
0
0
Would it be possible for the

Would it be possible for the commission to approve a plan for downtown crime enforcement while they are at it?

Rainbow Johnson
0
Points
Rainbow Johnson 09/14/10 - 09:11 am
0
0
Another power grab by the

Another power grab by the Woodard (queen of downtown) DDA. I'm wondering just how many of the downtown merchants really support this woman.
I think it goes without saying that Augusta simply must enforce it's parking ordinances, however this is a job for the sheriff's department. If there's enough money in policing parking violations for the DDA to hire someone to do it and have money left over, there should be ample funds for the sheriff to put someone on the payroll to do it as well.

If his concern is that parking fines don't help pay for deputies salaries, then perhaps a more indepth change should be made to see that they do.

I'm with Brad, and don't want to see the DDA get anymore power than they already have, that organization acts like an obama czar run outfit.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 09/14/10 - 10:10 am
0
0
Didn't we fire a public

Didn't we fire a public employee who wanted her own police force recently? What is the difference, except this one is spending money for useless things 10 times faster than the last.

Just what has the DDA done in the last 5 years, downtown, that we can be proud of? Why is this woman being paid $80K a year for coming up with these ridiculous ideas? Are our commissioners brain dead or just afraid of confronting her?

dichotomy
31678
Points
dichotomy 09/14/10 - 10:15 am
0
0
Stop this now! The DDA's only

Stop this now! The DDA's only function in life is to issue bonds. Why would we abdicate a law enforcement function to them? If you tell them they can give out tickets and keep all of the money they make, what do you think their motivation will be? You will be facing a crew of Barney Fifes running around with ticket books looking for the smallest, most questionable violations to ensure their jobs are funded. This is a really bad idea. It's time for Ms. Woodward, and maybe the entire idea of a DDA, to go. People are already reluctant to go downtown to shop and it has nothing to do with parking. With the DDA wanting to become a law enforcement agency, shoppers and employees will be reluctant to shop or work downtown for fear that Barney's tickets might wipe out their salary or make their shopping trip very expensive. You want to develop downtown and enforce existing parking laws? Put some REAL deputies downtown and they can reasonably enforce parking laws AND they might actually catch some of the muggers, and thugs roaming the streets and Riverwalk and chase off some of the panhandlers. Barney Fife from the DDA is not going to help the REAL problem downtown. This is just a really bad idea and a complete overstep of the charter for the DDA. What's next? Maybe the DDA should be given health inspection authority to have a roving patrol to inspect all of the resaurants downtown for violations. How about the DDA Building Inspection Patrol? Maybe DDA's Barney Fife could make them a few extra bucks for catching expired license plates or bald tires. Parking violations are a law enforcement issue and the DDA has NO law enforcement authority and should not be given any law enforcement authority. What we have here is another Chiquita trying to grab more power and more money. Since the DDA has no law enforcement authority, no charter that would remotely give them law enforcement authority, and the fact that these funds go to an unchartered use that is different from what the law prescribes today, I would suspect that any tickets written by the DDA Barney Fife Ticket Corps would be a candidate to be challenged in court.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/14/10 - 10:20 am
0
0
1) LL, there is no parking

1) LL, there is no parking problem. There is a laziness problem and a money problem (the problem being the DDA wants money).
2) I'm now writing a proposal that my neighborhood association can enforce the city's nuisance ordinances so we can create our own slush fund.

concernmom
403
Points
concernmom 09/14/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
NO! It's hard enough finding

NO! It's hard enough finding a place to park, that's why we rarely support downtown businesses!!!! It is a bad deal for downtown store owners.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/14/10 - 11:23 am
0
0
Hmmm.... The DDA given police

Hmmm.... The DDA given police powers to fine people. Will the Downtown Development Authority ticket downtown business owners (AKA their friends and colleagues)? Will the DDA take an oath of office to equally apply the laws? Will the DDA be issued guns on the taxpayer's dimes to protect against the angry parker?

New DDA slogan: Come shop downtown. NOW HURRY UP AND LEAVE.
Please shop, but don't shop too much. You have a two hour limit.

reality_bites
3
Points
reality_bites 09/14/10 - 11:28 am
0
0
It is all a joke. I have

It is all a joke. I have never lived in a place where people are allowed to park opposite direction of traffic flow. I asked two Richmond County Deputies once if it was illegal and was told they don't have the personnel to enforce that. Yet if you were to pull out into oncoming traffic and cause an accident, you would surely be cited as at fault.

Fawkes
46
Points
Fawkes 09/14/10 - 01:21 pm
0
0
When I worked downtown it was

When I worked downtown it was nearly impossible to find parking except in the 2 hour spaces even if you walked 2-3 blocks. I was working downtown when they pushed for parking meters and RCSO was out ticketing cars. I saw cars ticketed after being in a space for 30mins-1hour, I worked with the drivers and saw when they parked before coming into work.

Sometimes the officer would admit their mistake if you caught then right after writing a ticker, other times they wouldn't and let you deal with the ticket.

DDA has money for people to joyride around on Segways all day, never seen them do anything.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/14/10 - 01:31 pm
0
0
Will the DDA ticket the big

Will the DDA ticket the big trucks parked in the middle of the road in the middle of the day as they deliver stuff to businesses? Doubtful.

ruudvonbaron
0
Points
ruudvonbaron 09/14/10 - 02:00 pm
0
0
This is a ridiculous power

This is a ridiculous power grab by the DDA. Hopefully Joe Bowles and some of the more thought-provoked commission members will vote this BS down.

Howerver if you aren't a Richmond County resident you can still skip out on paying any parking fines.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/14/10 - 03:41 pm
0
0
Come downtown, where we

Come downtown, where we encourage you to dine and dash (to your car).
Come downtown, where you can eat and run (before getting a ticket).

countyman
19530
Points
countyman 09/14/10 - 03:41 pm
0
0
What's the point of having

What's the point of having laws? If we allow people to break them? I live downtown and parking can be a issue... Especially for people in the south who aren't use to walking for blocks at a time...

I definitely don't agree with everything the DDA does. The parking meters downtown wasn't a good idea..

But the 10th streetscape project and CADI have been VERY successful. 10th street near Roosters Beak is very nice... The CADI has picked up tons of trash, help visitors, and pressue washed several sidewalks...

They also have several good projects underway/about to start...The 9th streetscape project(sidewalks, streelights, trees), broad street lights(mostly GA DOT), and the new stage in the 8th street bulkhead.. The 8th street bulkhead is very popular. Saturday Market in the morning/afternoon and the Candlelight Jazz Series on sunday nights..

Little Lamb
44884
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/10 - 04:16 pm
0
0
Countyman wrote: I live

Countyman wrote:

I live downtown.

You don't have to harp on it.

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