In the City of Midland, you can legally park one vehicle in your front yard. City Council members met today to talk about a change that would make it illegal to park any cars on your front lawn. Their debate got heated.
There are certain city issues that can be solved pretty cut and dry, but, this ‘no parking on the lawn issue’ isn't one of them. In fact, Councilwoman Vicki Hailey stormed out of today's meeting not because she was upset things weren't going her way, but she was honestly shocked at the council's decision. We caught up with Hailey outside City Hall and she told Big 2, she's not mad, she's getting even.
"I'm not saying its okay to park in your front yard. I'm just saying at what extent are we going to enforce this and make a hardship on other people," says Hailey.
Much like the city has done in the past with community wide issues, such as the closing of Culver and drilling within city limits. Councilwoman Vicki Hailey asked the council to appoint a task force to consider these new parking regulations.
"I thought the task force was a pretty good idea initially, but after you really think about how we can get this done, I think we know the issues and the council can make the decision," explains Mayor Wes Perry.
"On an issue like this, where everybody really understands the issue. I think it's our job to listen to the community and come up with an ordinance that fits our community," says Councilman Jeff Sparks.
But the council voted against a task force; a vote Hailey believes is unfair.
"Today, they set precedence to me. Not even willing at least look at the establishment of some sort of task force. I asked time to time, why is this not equally as important," says Hailey.
In the next 60 days, the council will hold a public meeting to hear from the community. Hailey says she plans to push for a task force one more time.
"But hey, you know how the guys are. They're probably going to vote it down and take me being female and getting up and leaving the room. But, there's the principal of the matter that's at stake here and district two is going to be effected the most," says Hailey.
Hailey represents district two and says it's an area that's under-developed, leaving some people with no choice but to park on their lawn.
"If I work the midnight shift or the grave yard shift I have to worry about parking my car 4 or 5 blocks away and hopefully I can get to my house safely," explains Hailey.
"I'm not insensitive to some of councilman Hailey's issues that there are some areas that do not have curb and gutter or they are handicapped or they don't have paved street or a drive way," explains Concerned Citizen Tracye Vaughn, who worries about her property value.
She says it's not the people who have no choice to park in their front yard; it's the people in Midland who choose to do it who are the problem.
"It used to be a small portion of the city and now if you drive south, southwest, the west side of town, even some of the northwest side of town and even in my neighborhood. I live in the central part of town and we’re seeing it," says Vaughn.
The Mayor also told Big 2, in the next 60 days after the public hearing, if things get heated like they did today he won’t vote for the new parking ordinance. No time or date has been scheduled for that hearing, but keep it here for updates on this developing story.