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City considers $50 fine for cars blocking water access
Pepper Branch Park cmyk
File photo of Pepperbranch Park

Pepper Branch Park is known for its water access and has become a popular destination for individuals wishing to drift the Barren Fork River.

The increased use of the park has created an issue between water access and vehicle parking with people complaining they are having a difficult time accessing the water with their kayaks and canoes due to parked vehicles along the area used for water access.

McMinnville Vice Mayor Ben Newman brought the complaint to the attention of Board of Mayor and Aldermen members Tuesday night. He suggested an ordinance that would designate a loading and unloading zone and a fine of $50 for motorists who park for more than a short time in that zone.

“I’d like to create an ordinance dealing with parking in the loading and unloading areas at Pepper Branch,” said Newman. “I’ve had a lot of people complaining about people parking down there where people can’t turn around. Not at the top, but at the bottom. They can’t get down there and turn around. People are parking in areas where they can’t get to the water, drop boats off and get out.”

Newman did mention “a business” that expressed to him that they are having a difficult time pulling into the area, dropping off kayaks or canoes, and getting back out due to the number of parked vehicles.

Newman continued, “We need to have signage that tells where parking is and signage that says where loading and unloading is. I would like to propose a $50 fine for people who are blocking those areas. Not just a ticket, but a citation. If it’s just a ticket, people may or may not pay that. It’s not really a deterrent. If it’s a citation, people might have to come to court and that would be more of a deterrent for people parking down there.”

Legal counsel will generate an ordinance for Parks and Recreation Committee consideration.