SURGOINSVILLE — Palmer Court was again a main topic of discussion at Surgoinsville’s Sept. 9 BMA meeting, as the board voted to remove the two-hour parking sign that was placed in May. As the Review reported in Angry citizens complain to Surgoinsville BMA about parking restrictions on Palmer Court, this topic has been brought up at numerous meetings in the recent past.

Signs enforcing the two-hour street parking limit were placed around Palmer Court at the end of May after Alderman Ken Bass brought the issue to the attention of the BMA during May’s meeting. Bass explained that numerous cars were repeatedly parking on the very short street.

“He (Bass) said that, at some points, there would be seven or eight cars parked on the street that is only a few hundred feet long,” Surgoinsville Chief of Police James Hammonds told the Review. “It would get really crowded. A couple of them were actually cars that were broken down and weren’t running. All of our streets are not wide enough to have parking on them all the time. Right now, there is no parking on the pavement. Most of them are even marked ‘no parking’.”

These restrictions did not go over well with Palmer Court residents, however, as angry residents attended both the June and July BMA meetings demanding that the signs be taken down.

During September’s meeting, Mayor Merrell Graham told the board, “I’d like a motion and a second to remove the two-hour parking limit sign on Palmer Court. Of course, that would leave the ‘no parking’ (enforced by a city-wide ordinance). There’d still be no parking (on public roads). Just as advice to them (residents of the street), if they do have to park on Palmer Court to be very sensible about it. Like we talked about in the last two meetings, if they would just use common sense, there won’t be a problem.”

Alderman Dale Byington explained that, whether or not there was a two-hour parking limit on the street, residents should not be allowed to leave non-running vehicles on the street. Graham agreed and stated the town “will not put up with that.”

“There needs to be a stipulation in there that, if the car doesn’t have tags and doesn’t run, it can’t be there,” Byington said.

“Well, that’s in the ordinance (that governs street parking),” Vice Mayor Bobby Jarnigan replied.

“This would be based on them using common sense,” Graham added.

When Byington noted that “we can’t just pick on one street,” Graham again explained that Surgoinsville has a town-wide no street parking rule, which he said “will remain.”

In the end, of those present at the meeting, Jarnigan, Graham, Byington and Matthew Sommers voted to remove the sign, and Bass voted to leave it.

Hammonds also noted that, in light of this decision and in an effort to be fair to all residents, he and his staff will be more strictly enforcing the town-wide no street parking rule.

A full copy of Surgoinsville’s Code governing motor vehicles, traffic and parking can be found along with the online version of this article at

Lawn clippings in public roads considered ‘littering’Jarnigan also asked Hammonds if a letter could be sent to town residents asking them to stop blowing lawn clippings into public roads, as he mentioned that there were several problem areas throughout the town.

“I don’t think we would have to do that,” Hammonds responded. “It’s been advertised — the state has even been advertising a lot about the grass. Grass and leaves (in public roads) is considered littering. The cases I’ve worked so far, I’ve done education and explained the laws to them than I give them an opportunity to clean it up.”

If it is not cleaned up, the guilty party will then receive a littering citation.

It is important to note that this is enforced not only to maintain the cleanliness of public roads but also to ensure the safety of those traveling. Lawn clipping and other debris can be especially hazardous to those riding motorcycles and bicycles, as it can cause them to overturn.