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Duluth council cracks down on parking infractions

DULUTH - Duluth is trying to rid the city of people who are parking on the grass.

After a resident of Ennfield Lane spoke to the Duluth City Council two weeks ago, the panel turned the complaint over to Sherri Hancel, the city's code compliance officer.

On Monday, she reported four vehicles were found parked on grass at homes on Davenport and Pittard Roads. Those violators were notified by mail and could be in danger of a citation and fine if the actions continue, the council decided.

There were half-dozen others, but those residences are in Gwinnett County. It is not known what the county enforcement people plan to do, she said. Pickup trucks and other vehicles were found parked on the grass said Hancel, who took photographs and showed them to the council at the meeting.

"These are basically the same 10 violators, and one has been added now, making 11 in violation," she said.

After the warning notice, there will be a reinspection.

"If they're not in compliance, the municipal will come next," she said.

Mayor pro-tem Douglas Mundrick put it this way:

"At the second bite of the apple, someone's going to write a check," he said. "We've got to make property owners take care of their property."

Mundrick added that he would like to see a draft of an ordinance change that would require a second violation to lead directly to a citation. He asked that Hancel come back with a report on what the grass-parkers are doing in response to the warning.

Another problem now challenging the council is the matter of groups collecting donations for charity at public intersections.

Specifically, Joe McMahon of the Shriners has asked the council members for permission to continue collecting at the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard/ Pleasant Hill intersection to raise money for the hospital Shriners have traditionally supported.

But council member Marsha Bomar noted that the volume of traffic in areas where collections are being done has significantly increased in recent years.

"I live around the corner, and it's frightening to see the people walk up to the cars," she said.

Duluth Police Chief Randy Belcher told the council the practice is against state law, but the state has given cities the leeway to allow such collections to take place. Some 30,000 cars a day travel through the PIB/Pleasant Hill intersection, he said.

"We receive a lot of complaints," the chief said. "I think as far as public safety goes, I've raised questions with the council."

The upshot is that Belcher, Bomar, McMahon and others are meeting soon to come up with other avenues of fundraising for the groups.

"We will try to come up with an ordinance to make it possible for charitable organizations to come up with conditions that would make this reasonable and safe," she said.