Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem approves parking ban on lawns

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem City Council on Tuesday night approved Mayor Robert Donchez's ban on lawn parking.

The vote was 5-2; Councilmen Bryan Callahan and Adam Waldron dissented.

"This is an overreach by government," said Waldron in explaining his "no" vote.

During Tuesday night's meeting the ordinance was described as a "reasonable solution to a problem that is not exactly overwhelming," according to city solicitor William Leeson. He added that the "simplicity of the ordinance" provides adequate legal guidelines to address the problem without being laborious in designating a series of exceptions. The ordinance was also created to protect the property value of neighborhoods where this activity is currently taking place.

Prior to the vote, an amendment was approved that deleted a section that required vehicles to be parked in a rear of side yard to be parked "on a mud-free stone-covered surface or an intake, solid surface parking pad constructed of either macadam or concrete."

The ordinance prohibits residents from parking vehicles on a lawn. The exceptions would be if they are moving, loading or unloading something into their home. This activity is for a period of time not to exceed one hour per week. Additionally, vehicles shall be parked in front of the house on a macadam or concrete surface such as a driveway; vehicles cannot block a sidewalk.
Donchez said it was "not the intent' of the ordinance to punish residents in emergency situations and would not be used randomly by police.

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