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OK to park on lawns?

Mark Brooky • Nov 7, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Gus of Grand Haven Township wrote, “I live near Peach Plains Elementary School. The parents will park their cars on my grass (between the sidewalk and the street) when picking up or visiting their kids. My previous house had curbs, which meant your grass was protected. I definitely understand the need, but I was curious as to the law.”

Answer:

The answer provided by the township is two-fold.

First, Grand Haven Township does indeed have an ordinance that prohibits parking vehicles on a lawn.

“However, the intent of that ordinance is to prevent overnight parking on the lawn instead of the driveway rather than intermittent parking near a school where the vehicle would only be parked for a short period of time,” explained Township Community Development Director Stacey Fedewa.

Secondly, the township regulation that is most applicable to Gus’ question is the Road Rights-of-Way Ordinance, which prohibits anyone to use or occupy any portion of a public road right of way between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Therefore, the vehicles described by Gus are not violating that ordinance if the short-term parking is occurring between 7:01 a.m. and 9:59 p.m.

“That said, if the homeowner is experiencing a chronic problem of their lawn being damaged by these vehicles, the township recommends they contact the school district and request they address this issue with the parents by perhaps sending a letter home with the students reminding them not to park on the grass because it's causing damage to those homeowners’ lawn,” Fedewa said.

Ottawa County Undersheriff Steve Kempker agrees with Fedewa’s explanation, and said the sheriff’s office can enforce township ordinances.

“We work closely with Grand Haven Township and would be willing to help address the issue and to educate,” Kempker said.

Andy Ingall, the superintendent for the Grand Haven school district, told me he is unaware of any complaints from neighbors of Peach Plains.

Do you have a question for the Tribune? Email it to mbrooky@grandhaventribune.com, and type “Mailbag” in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune’s Mailbag, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer!

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