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City council finalizes parking on grass ordinance

Mission City Council reinstated the no parking on grass ordinance that caused much debate for the last two years. 

City government originally created ordinance No. 5001 in 2021 to promote city beautification and allow code enforcement officers to issue citations. The ordinance stated that all residents needed to park their vehicles in the designated driveway area or on the street. Residents could also add cement to their driveways. 

Then in 2022, Planning Director Susie De Luna said the city received complaints that the ordinance only targeted older neighborhoods because they only have one-car garages. Additionally, the postmaster reported that cars parked on the street impeded postal worker duties. Although it is not illegal to park in front of mailboxes, obstructing mail delivery could result in the postmaster withdrawing delivery service if the problem persists. Eventually, the city council placed a moratorium on the ordinance. 

More than a year later, the mayor and council discussed the matter again at the April 3 workshop. They came to the consensus to rescind the ordinance. 

But after the community learned the city council wanted to rescind the local law, they made their voices heard. 

“I find it to be really detrimental to our city and the beautification of our city to rescind this ordinance,” said one community member, who only provided the name Dovalina at the May 22 meeting. 

Another citizen, who did not provide his name, said he took time off of work to be able to speak on the agenda item. 

“I know you maybe got some comments from your constituents saying ‘We can’t afford a driveway.’ But yet they can afford four cars. They can afford insurance for four cars,” he said. “You’re not going to cause hardship on these people. You’re going to teach them how to be clean, how to keep the neighborhood clean.”

Given the feedback at the May 8 and May 22 Mission City Council meetings, Mission’s elected officials took no action on the item, resulting in keeping the ordinance in place. The announcement came with a smattering of applause from the public at Monday’s meeting. 

Since the topic came to the fore in 2021, no community members publicly spoke against the ordinance. And only one resident attended a meeting on Feb. 28, 2022 to say she could not afford to pay for a cement addition to her driveway.   

As when the council originally passed the local law, the regulation only applies to vehicles parked on the lawn regularly and does not include the occasional party or large holiday gathering. Violators will receive a verbal warning before they have to go to court. Once in court, it is up to the judge to determine the fine, but it cannot exceed $500. 

Ordinance No. 5001 only applies to vehicles that regularly operate. Mission has a separate ordinance prohibiting junk or abandoned vehicles from lingering on people’s property, which was in place before the no parking on grass order. Additionally, under the beautification clause, residents must park motorhomes on concrete or asphalt. 

City Manager Randy Perez said the city will provide a warning notice to residents to allow them to remedy the parking situation before code enforcement officers issue a citation.

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