07/07/04 — City asked to set up patrol to enforce handicapped parking

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City asked to set up patrol to enforce handicapped parking

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on July 7, 2004 2:09 PM

Violators of handicapped parking spaces beware: George Wood is watching you and has plans to bring you to justice.

Wood, a city resident, appeared Tuesday before the Goldsboro City Council to make a case for a volunteer patrol force that would target non-handicapped people who park in designated handicapped spaces.

Wood said he is bothered by constant abuse of the parking places, though he is not handicapped and no one in his family is handicapped.

He suggested that the city consider a program similar to one in Richland County, S.C.

"They put this program together," he explained, "because a city council member was using their mother's handicap sticker to get around the community."

Wood said that local police didn't have the time or opportunity to patrol handicap parking places, and that's why a volunteer patrol was needed.

He said that in the first six months of the South Carolina program there were 91 convictions. In the past five months, there have been seven people cited in Goldsboro for parking illegally in a handicapped space.

Wood, who has approached non-handicapped people for parking illegally in the spaces, said that people gave weak excuses for parking in the designated handicapped spaces.

"A young man says that 'mother nature' was calling," Wood said. "Or one young lady was seven months pregnant and says she was 'almost handicapped.' There should be no excuses."

Wood's proposal would put volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 70, on the streets and parking lots of Goldsboro.

If a violation was observed, the volunteer would wait until the person left the vehicle before approaching the car. The volunteer would then check both license plates and the interior of the vehicle for a handicap sticker. If none was found, the volunteer would take a picture of the license plates and put a warning note on the windshield.

The note would say that the person had been observed parking illegally in a handicapped space and would be notified about the violation from a police officer.

The volunteer would then bring the information to the police department within 48 hours, so the police could write a letter to the offender.

"It's an attention-getter," Wood explained. "The goal is to eliminate the violations through public education."

Mayor Al King said that the city manager would appoint someone to work with Woods to discuss the matter further.

In other matters Monday the council:

*Approved a preliminary subdivision plat for Best Grove Subdivision. The property is on the northwestern side of Cuyler Best Road between New Hope Road and North Park Drive. There is a total of 96 lots, with the average lot size being about 16,000 square feet.

*Approved a special use permit allowing the expansion of an office in a residential zone. The property is on the north side of East Ash Street between Piedmont Airline Road and Oak Forest Road.