Increased illegal parking fines during Austin festivals proposed

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Some changes could be in store for several parks in Austin when it comes to parking and vending during special events. On Thursday, Austin's city council will consider several recommendations from the Parkland Events Task Force, a group formed by the council in 2015 to explore best uses for park space and the impact events have on the parks.

After 30 meetings and thousands of comments, three recommendations will go before the council. Those include illegal parking, illegal vending and updating the city code on amplified sound.

The group is recommending that those who park illegally should face a $250 fine. They found illegal parking on dry grass, which is a fire hazard and under trees, hurting the root systems.

Illegal vending is also a concern by the task force due to litter, wear and tear on the park's grass and taking up space used by those attending the event. The recommendation is to clarify the requirements for vendors and increasing the fine for not getting a permit.

The city is also looking to tighten the wording of the sound code.

"Over a decade ago the sound code was established that, if approved, events could go until 2 a.m. but we haven't had an event go that late in over a decade so we are cleaning that up to match our standard of 11 p.m. which mainly impacts our wedding type facilities," said Austin Parks and Recreation's Sales and Events Manager, Jason Maurer. "All of our special events will continue to end at 10 p.m."

The task force would also like to see Auditorium Shores, Zilker Park and Fiesta Gardens use an average of three days less each year for special events. Two reasons why include the impact to the parks from people walking on the grass and the trash left behind after and event is over. Maurer says that would be done through attrition - meaning as events choose to move elsewhere over the years, the department would not fill those days with a different event.

Austin City Council is expected to take up the recommendations during their meeting Thursday.

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