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New bylaw would fine people $100 for parking on the lawn

The new bylaw stems from problems with student housing in the west end. It would exclude people who rent their lawns during Hamilton Tiger-Cats games.
Residents such as Greg Pasloske on Melrose Avenue - shown here during the Pan Am Games last year - rent out their lawns for parking during events at Tim Hortons Field stadium. They'll still be able to continue doing so under a new bylaw banning parking on lawns and boulevards. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

City councillors will vote next week whether to officially ban parking in yards — excluding the area around Tim Hortons Field during Hamilton Tiger-Cats games.

The city's planning committee will vote to pass a bylaw that fines people $100 for parking on front and side yards, and boulevards, which is the space between the sidewalk and the curb.

The ban will exclude two areas where residents make extra money by renting out their yards for parking. Namely, they would still be able to rent lawn space around the stadium for Ticats games, and streets around the Winona Peach Festival. 

Under the new bylaw, enforcement officers can simply slap tickets on the windshields of offending vehicles, fining the owners $100, or $80 if paid early. Lawn parking is illegal right now, but it's illegal under the city zoning bylaw. Under that bylaw, cases can take up to a year in court.

If passed, the new bylaw will put to rest a three-year-old issue at city hall. It started in 2013, when Brian McHattie, then a Ward 1 city councillor, asked to a more straightforward law to crack down on illegal parking at student housing.

City council asked for several changes to the bylaw in 2013, and it's coming back to a city planning committee on Tuesday.

People regularly complain to the city about vehicles parked on boulevards, front or side yards, the staff report says.

Other municipalities — including Guelph, Waterloo, Ottawa, Kingston and St. Catharines — have fines for parking on lawns and boulevards, the report says. Those range from $25 to $500.

The following areas will be exempt:

  • Areas around Tim Hortons Field from four hours before the start time of an event until two hours after.
  • Areas around the Winona Peach Festival from four hours before start time until two hours after.

If city councillors pass the new bylaw on Tuesday, it will be ratified at a city council meeting next week.

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