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Akron to enforce no parking on front lawns

10/4/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Also, historical designation for Von, Crescent removed

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron City Council unanimously approved Oct. 1 a measure intended to allow for more forceful citation for the offense of parking vehicles in front yards.

With the law change, the Department of Neighborhood Assistance now can ticket vehicles illegally parked in front yards. The fine will be $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and $100 plus towing of the vehicle for the third, “so there is some teeth to this,” said Assistant Law Director John York.

One hundred percent of the fine will go into the city’s General Fund, which is the current arrangement for parking tickets issued in the city, York said.

Health and housing inspectors now will be able to write tickets to owners of vehicles parked in front yards if they observe the offense.

“From what we understand, there’s hundreds of these violations out there,” said John Valle, the city’s director of neighborhood assistance. “It’s pretty much citywide.”

He said he hears complaints about parking in front yards at ward meetings. Citizens can call the city’s 3-1-1 call center — or dial 330-375-2311 from a cell phone or a landline outside the city — to report violation of this law, he added.

Councilman Michael Williams (D-at large) said everyone on Council has seen evidence of the problem, even on main streets.

“Exchange Street is just classic,” he said. “It’s to the point where there’s not grass in the yards where the parking spots are.”

The law change also further clarifies the definition of a front yard to mean “an open unoccupied space on a lot with a building, the space being the entire area between the front line of the building, extended to the side lines of the lot, and the front line of the lot.”

In other business, Council gave its unanimous approval to the removal of the historical designation for 795 and 803 W. Market St. — the apartment buildings known as the Von and the Crescent. The local historical landmark designation had been approved in October 2009.

According to city planning officials, the new owner of the parcel requested the removal of the designation with the intention to have the buildings demolished. A new building with retail and apartment housing is planned.

Planning Director John Moore said the city will undertake the demolition. He said there has been no occupancy in the apartments in three years.

Due to water damage and deterioration, the historic integrity of the buildings has been lost, and renovation is “technically and economically infeasible,” according to the ordinance.

Due to the Columbus Day holiday, the next Akron City Council meeting will take place Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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