Sylva wheel lock ordinance OK, state says

jacksonSylva police can now start enforcing a town ordinance aimed at paring down the number of unpaid parking tickets, thanks to a law recently adopted in Raleigh. 

Back in January, the town board had passed an ordinance allowing police to use wheel locks, also called parking boots, on cars whose owners had accrued unpaid parking tickets. To have the boot removed, the owner would have to pay any outstanding fees as well as a $25 boot removal fee within 24 hours to prevent their car being towed. 

It’s a type of ordinance present in many North Carolina towns, town administrators’ research showed, and the ordinance passed unanimously. 

But after Sylva adopted the wheel lock ordinance, the town got a complaint from a downtown business owner demanding to know whether the General Assembly had authorized the ordinance. North Carolina’s laws are such that some local actions require authorization by the General Assembly to be valid, and as the town researched the question, they couldn’t find a clear answer as to whether the ordinance in question required such authorization. 

So, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, introduced a bill authorizing the ordinance and the town asked police to hold off on enforcing it. 

The bill became law on June 10, clearing the way for Sylva to start enforcement of the six-month-old ordinance and hopefully reduce the number of parking fines going unpaid. According to Sylva Police Chief Davis Woodard, as of Nov. 2014 $7,500 worth of tickets had gone unpaid since 2011. 

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