Minden Police will soon begin enforcing an amended law for parking in residential and certain downtown areas, but Chief Steve Cropper would like to educate the public about the law first.
"This is not a new law," Cropper said. "There are just a few changes in it."
The big issue, according to the chief, is vehicles in yards or on the street that are unlicensed, uninsured, have no current inspection sticker and are, basically, either nonoperational or illegal to drive on Minden streets.
"That's always been a violation of this ordinance," Cropper pointed out. "We try to contact the owners and advise them to either get the vehicle operational, licensed and street legal or get it behind a fence out of sight or behind the residence out of sight. That part hasn't changed. It's always been that way."
Cropper said once contacted, if the owner does not move the vehicle, police will tag it and after 10 days – if the vehicle has not been moved – a wrecker service will be contacted.
"Then, it's up to the owner to get the vehicle back from the wrecker service and the owner will be charged by the wrecker service for the removal," Cropper said.
The owner will also be fined $50.
The main change in the law, approved by a unanimous vote of the Minden City Council last week, makes it illegal to "park or leave standing on the streets of the city any passenger motor vehicle, commercial vehicle, vehicle with dual wheels, recreational vehicle or trailer of any kind for a period of time in excess of six hours."
"We have so many of these 'hot shot' drivers that have the long goose-neck trailers parked in the street," Cropper said. "The trailers ... the big vehicles ... they're dangerous. And this amended ordinance is not going to allow him to park it in the street, period."
Cropper said he feels the six hours will give lawn services time to complete their business.
"These trailers that are parked, just to be parked – the officer can check them in the morning and then, before his shift is over, he can go back and check after six hours and see if they're still there," he said.
Cropper said he knows the amended ordinance will upset some people, but he feels public safety is the issue.
Another portion of the amended law includes two hours of free parking in designated parking areas in the downtown shopping district. Violation will result in a fine of $25 plus court costs for each offense.