City officials want to make cruising the city's Main Street a real "drag" for youths who have turned weekday and weekend traffic into a nuisance.
The City Council recently passed two ordinances dealing with weekend Main Street traffic, in particular the youths who cruise the street constantly from about dusk to midnight.The first makes it illegal to drive through parking lots or cut through private driveways. It is aimed at particular lots along the area, including several convenience stores. Police Chief Dee Rosenbaum said much of the cruising traffic uses those lots and driveways to turn around onto the street for another pass-by.
The second ordinance prohibits loitering on the street, as well as in other business and residential areas, and defines loitering as actions by individuals that "hinder or have a negative impact on businesses or cause vandalism and other safety problems."
Violators of the first ordinance could be cited for a class B misdemeanor, which carries maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and 180-day jail sentence. Loiterers could be cited for a class C misdemeanor offense, which carries maximum penalties of a $500 fine and a 90-day jail sentence.
The ordinances will supplement an already existing statute dealing with noise violations, which allows officers to cite those with car stereos that can be heard within a half-block area, and another that prohibits parking along Main Street after 11 p.m.
Rosenbaum said initially the city will issue warnings to violators of both ordinances. However, after warning signs have been posted in the area - which should take no longer than two weeks - officers will begin citing violators.
"We are enhancing our enforcement of those ordinances by having seven officers patrol that area on weekends - and that's out of a force of 14 officers," Rosenbaum said.
That news comes as a relief to the managers of some of the stores along Main Street. LeAnn Carson, manager of the 7-Eleven store at 891 N. Main - one of the businesses for which the turn-around ordinance was written - calls the measures "great."
Carson said officers have been responsive when employees have asked for help with some youths "who have been trashing the store at times.
"We just don't have a large enough staff to be able to watch all the kids who come in the store, so maybe the ordinances will keep the traffic on the street and in the store down."
She said sometimes the cars turning around in the store's parking lot block customers from getting out, and sometimes customers going into the store to pay for fuel "almost get hit."
Carson said the store has also experienced problems with littering, including beer bottles, and youths using foul language.
According to a recent survey of parking tickets and warnings given by his force, Rosenbaum said between 70 percent to 80 percent of those causing problems could be out-of-towners.
"It's for those out-of-town kids that we're giving the warning time. But when the signs are posted, these kids can expect to get ticketed. That's the price they're going to have to pay."
Cruising can be costly
Ordinances dealing with Spanish Fork's Main Street traffic:
- Main Street parking (1989): Prohibits parking on Main Street between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Violators will be cited for illegal parking and will be fined $10 to $15.
- Loud stereos (1990): Prohibits stereo noise that can be heard from a half-block (or 200-foot) radius. Violators will be cited for disturbing the peace, a class C misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $500 fine and 90-day jail sentence.
- Loitering ordinance (1991): Establishes loitering as actions by individuals that "hinder or have a negative impact on businesses or cause vandalism and other safety problems." Violators can be cited for a class C misdemeanor.
- Driveway and parking lot ordinance (1991): Prohibits auto traffic from cutting through parking lots or private driveways. Violators can be cited for a class B misdemeanor, which carries maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and 180-day jail sentence.