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Hobart panel looks to hone parking, pawn shop ordinances

Updated: May 5, 2013 4:55PM



HOBART — The City Council is looking at ordinances that would sharpen now-blurry rules regarding parking in driveways and regulate pawn shops and precious metals, coin and jewelry dealers.

Councilman Dave Vinzant, D-4th, said Wednesday the current zoning code concerning driveways has been interpreted in different ways by different zoning administrators.

“I want to make sure it’s interpreted the right way,” Vinzant said.

He said it appears no one can park in their own driveway, except for the portion that might be behind or beside the house. Even then, a homeowner can’t park in a way that blocks another car from leaving.

“This is not what people are doing and I’m certain this is not how we want it enforced,” Vinzant said.

Acting City Planner Carroll Lewis said his interpretation of municipal and zoning codes, however, is that residents can park as many cars in their driveway as they want, provided they don’t block the sidewalk.

Responding to Public Works director John Dubach’s question about people paving city easements for parking purposes, Vinzant said it would be allowed in some cases.

Lewis pointed out that approval by the Board of Works and Safety would be needed before residents could pave the easement for parking, however.

Council members also brought up the fact that some residents are parking their vehicles on the front lawn or placing gravel on their front lawn for the purpose of having additional parking, both of which they objected to.

“If you’re having a party or washing your car in your lawn, it doesn’t hurt anyone and no one says anything. But if you’re parking on the grass day in and day out, and have ruts in the lawn, that’s a problem,” Lewis said.

Vinzant said the proposed ordinance regarding pawn shops and precious metal dealers was requested by the police department, which said these businesses provide an avenue for thieves to fence stolen precious metals and stones without risk of identification. The police said it’s important to have data regarding items being pawned, sold, purchased or exchanged.

The city has one pawn shop and several cash-for-gold businesses.

A police detective presented examples of how other municipalities regulate these businesses and the council will have City Attorney Anthony DeBonis draft an ordinance.



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