Hapeville council adopts booting ordinance

Hapeville’s city council has settled an issue that consumed it since the beginning of the year.

With a 3-1 vote, the council this week passed a vehicle immobilization ordinance that sets fees and other rules for the booting of vehicles.

The ordinance pegs the maximum booting fee at $75 a day for each day of impoundment, provides options for paying the fee and calls for signage at the site including the name and address of the person doing the booting, who must be registered and permitted.

The ordinance also stipulates that a boot cannot be placed on a car if the driver returns before the installation is completed.

“We have discussed this to death. It was time to do something,” Hapeville Mayor Alan Hallman said.

The discussion of fastening a boot -- or wheel locking device -- to illegally parked vehicles arose largely from an issue involving a parking lot on Virginia Avenue that serves a Motel 6 and a Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant. Patrons of Spondivitis, a nearby seafood restaurant, park there when the Spondivitis lot is full, and some have left that restaurant to find their vehicles booted.

The council and mayor were swamped with calls and emails about the issue, prompting talk of new rules for booting. The city’s old ordinance didn’t regulate fees. Steven Harper, chief executive of Georgia Parking Enforcement, a booting company, helped the council write the ordinance.

“I’ve never seen any government work harder on this issue,” Harper said Wednesday.

Councilman Richard Murray cast the dissenting vote.

“I think this whole issue is a civil one concerning private property, although I do think the council did a good effort in crafting the ordinance,” he said.

Hallman, who spent months researching other booting ordinances, was relieved the ordinance passed.

“We finally slayed the dragon,” he said.