BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi leaders said from now on people who have no business parking at the small craft harbor may end up paying to get their car out of impound. The city council revised an ordinance to give police more authority over who uses the parking lot.
City leaders said anyone who isn't launching a boat, renting a slip, or patronizing a business in the harbor should not be parking in the harbor parking lot. Officials said parking problems are causing harbor businesses to lose out on customers which means, in turn, the city loses out on sales taxes so something had to change.
"It's a public parking lot so we really didn't have any teeth to stop anybody who just wanted to park there from parking there," Chief John Miller.
With Biloxi's new revised ordinance officers can opt to have non harbor patrons' vehicles towed.
"Security people cannot right tickets," said George Lawrence, council member. "The police department has the right to write the tickets. The reason we did this is it added to the ordinance,a little more strength. Because you have the restaurant, you have the charter boat, you have the people that rent the slips from the city and you have the bait shop."
Lawrence said, "Well all those are businesses inside the city, so that's where we put up signs letting people know past this sign is property involved with leases through the city."
Keeping out non-harbor patrons is likely to be a challenge especially during Hard Rock concerts.
"That's the biggest problem they have is when there is a show," Lawrence said. "They have an extra 1,500 to 1,800 people there, then parking lots are full everywhere."
Chief John Miller said, "I will be enforcing the new ordinance, so if you have business there, park there. If you don't, park somewhere else where you have business."
Lawrence said since the businesses are leasing from the city of Biloxi, the more business they do, the more it helps the city.