Okotoks town council recently discussed whether or not people are allowed to park on their front lawns.

This discussion was prompted when an Okotoks resident reached out to Councillor Rachel Swendseid, asking for more information on bylaws that prohibit people from parking on their front lawns.

While people are technically allowed to park their vehicles on their front lawns, they still may end up getting ticketed.

Under the Nuisance and Unsightly Premises Bylaw, recreational vehicles and trailers must be parked on paved surface. 

Other vehicles are only prohibited from being parked on front lawns if they don't adhere to the Nuisance and Unsightly Premises Bylaw. As outlined in this bylaw, vehicles that are not currently registered with the Motor Vehicle Registry, vehicles that are inoperable, and ones that are in serious need of maintenance are prohibited from being parked on front lawns.

This is to help keep properties looking nice.

When asked by Councillor Swendseid about the frequency of complaints about vehicles parked on front lawns, Municipal Enforcement Manager, Vikram Kulkarni, explains that it's not really an issue.

"I'll give you some context in terms of numbers that I have managed to collect. So, from 2018, we had one call. 2019, there were four. Now this is pre-covid. Across COVID in 2020, we had two calls. We did not have a call in '21, and that was at the height of COVID. In 2022, we had one. And in 2023 we've had three," explains Kulkarni during last week's town council meeting. 

Each of the complaints came from different neighbourhoods, so each complaint is looked upon as a one-off complaint.

While other communities, such as Calgary, Edmonton, Strathcona, Wood Buffalo, and Fort Saskatchewan have created specific bylaws prohibiting vehicles, numerous other communities have opted to not create a similar bylaw.

"With regards to this particular issue, we do have the Nuisances and Unsightly Premises Bylaw already in effect. So, to add another bylaw to address this specific piece, when we have minimal data, or an individual who is not happy in terms of where things are, I don't think would be the appropriate action from here on," Kulkarni says. He adds that, currently, this isn't a big enough issue to warrant a separate bylaw.

Residents are able to contact bylaw officers about vehicles parked on front lawns, but it will be up to the discretion of the responding officer to determine whether or not the vehicle falls under the Nuisances and Unsightly Premises Bylaw.

For more information, visit the Town of Okotoks website

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