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Edward Reid parks his truck in the yard at his residence at 313 Robin Road S.W.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Edward Reid parks his truck in the yard at his residence at 313 Robin Road S.W.

Homeowner: Don't tell me where to park

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

Edward Reid traces what he calls his "redneck" opinion about cars in yards to his parents' places of birth.

"My father is from Winston County and my mother was born in Lawrence County," he said. "I'm just an old country boy, and I don't want nobody telling me where to park my vehicle on my property."

Reid, who resides at 313 Robin Road S.W., is opposed to Decatur or any city telling homeowners they can't park on their lawns.

"I guess the next thing they will be trying to do is tell us where and when we can plant our garden," he said. "I'm probably going to plant mine tomorrow before they try to adopt an ordinance for that."

Reid, who has been following stories in The Daily about cars parked in yards, said the city is selectively enforcing nuisance ordinances already on the books.

"The last thing they need is another rule to selectively enforce," he said.

Mayor Don Kyle denies Reid's allegations that Decatur selectively enforces city codes.

"We don't have people riding down the streets looking for particular people," Kyle said. "We respond to every call and give people an opportunity to comply."

Kyle said he is not aware of the city considering any ordinance prohibiting parking on lawns.

"You have to be careful when you adopt something of this nature," he said. "For example, you don't want to stop people from parking in yards during temporary gatherings such as family reunions and weddings."

Montgomery has an ordinance prohibiting parking on front lawns but exempts special occasions. Madison and Homewood have similar ordinances. Tuscaloosa could join the ranks in June.

Reid has lived at the same address for 40 years. The city twice issued him citations for what he called litter and junk. He doesn't dispute that he violated city codes.

"I cleaned up and that was the end of that," he said.

But, when the city cited his son in 2005 for having an inoperable vehicle on his lawn, Reid purchased a camera.

He started going through the city taking pictures of other violators. When his son went to Municipal Court in January 2006, Reid said, he tried to submit the pictures as evidence to show that Decatur was selectively enforcing the law.

"They told me the pictures didn't have anything to do with my son's case," he said. "To make all of this so bad, my son's vehicle worked and had never been without a tag or insurance. In fact, he drove it to court."

His son got a 10-day suspended jail sentence and was put on one-year probation.

Reid, 64, has been parking on his lawn for 40 years and has no plans to stop. He said there are three family members in the home with vehicles.

"We don't want to block each other in," he said. "If they try to tell me I can't park in my yard, I will go to court."

When asked about cars in yards destroying property values, Reid said: "Every situation is different. Do you think my car parked here is going to destroy property values? No. I have parked here for 40 years and no one has complained until now."

Just like many municipalities in the state, Decatur has no law that prohibits properly licensed vehicles from parking in front yards.

The argument for having such an ordinance is that it gives neighbors a legal recourse to protect property values.

Decatur does have an ordinance that prevents homeowners from having inoperable vehicles in their yards.

This is the ordinance Reid said city officials do not consistently enforce. He said he will continue to make pictures to prove his point.

Need an old vehicle removed?

Joel Denbo of Tennessee Valley Recycling said his company on Alabama 20 buys vehicles for scrap iron. Depending on the market, the vehicles, which have an average weight of 1,800 pounds, may sell for between $40 and $160. Denbo said there are companies that will fetch inoperable vehicles for people and haul them to TVR. If you need an old vehicle removed from your yard, call TVR at 353-6351.

- Deangelo McDaniel

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