City officials in Marfa have floated a proposed ordinance to define, re-zone, and police parking around town, which includes fines and towing and/or car booting, and many locals and regular visitors aren’t too happy about it, given the importance of the cultural tourist trade there. The question on resident critics’ minds is how much this would deter tourism going forward, given that Marfa isn’t exactly easy to get to, and everyone who visits drives into town in rentals or their own cars. The proposed cap on fines is a lofty $500. As one local leader and business owner has put it:
“Can you imagine driving 8 hours from Dallas, driving 9 hours from Houston, 10+ hours of travel from NYC, not to mention all the international travelers we get in Marfa… coming all this way and getting a $500 parking ticket?
Five hundred dollars.”
(Ed note: Representatives from Glasstire have been in Marfa no less than four times this year, during busy cycles by Marfa standards, and traffic congestion and parking anywhere in the town has not been an issue. If Marfa seems to have one thing in spades, it’s plenty of space.)
You can read the full ordinance here, including the city’s reasons for proposing it.
Below are the proposal’s points of enforcement:
11.01 The City shall have the power to administer and enforce the provisions of this Ordinance as may be required by governing law. Any person violating any provision of this Ordinance is subject to suit for injunctive relief as well as prosecution for criminal violations. Any violation of this Ordinance is hereby declared to be a nuisance.
11.02 Any person violating any provision of this Ordinance shall, upon conviction, be fined a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) plus costs of court. Each day that a provision of this Ordinance is violated shall constitute a separate offense. An offense under this Ordinance is a Class C Misdemeanor.
11.03 The Chief of Police or any member of the Marfa Police Department is hereby authorized to issue parking citations to any person who has violated any section or subsection of this Ordinance.
11.04 The Chief of Police or any member of the Marfa Police Department may effectuate the towing or removal of the vehicle of an individual cited under this article at the expense of the owner of said vehicle and, if towed, may have the vehicle impounded and detained until all towing and storage charges are paid by the owner.
11.05 In lieu of towing, this Ordinance may be enforced through vehicle booting.
11.06 In a prosecution for an offense under this Ordinance, it is presumed that the registered owner of the motor vehicle is the person who stopped, stood, or parked the vehicle at the time and place the offense occurred.