Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville council gives initial approval to vehicle impoundment ordinance

BROOKSVILLE — After being rejected in his first attempt, Brooksville police Chief George Turner received tentative approval from the City Council for his revised vehicle impoundment ordinance.

Council members unanimously agreed to approve Turner's measure on its first reading Monday night, with the final reading set for July 20.

Previously, the ordinance would have allowed for the immediate impoundment of any vehicle found in violation of the city's noise ordinance or illegally parked in a handicapped zone. Now, the measure allows for seizure only after a second offense.

"I think I answered all of the council's concerns," Turner said. "No one will have their car impounded for a first offense."

Turner initially designed the law after a similar zero-tolerance ordinance passed last year in Sarasota. Within the first six months, Sarasota's ordinance resulted in the seizure of 11 vehicles and the issuance of 60 citations.

But Turner's measure met significant disapproval when he presented it to the council on May 18.

Mayor Joe Bernardini called the ordinance vague and misleading. Council member David Pugh said impoundment on a first violation was too harsh, particularly for people who parked in handicapped spaces.

"I know it's an issue and that some people abuse it," Pugh said. "But if someone is handicapped and don't have their placard that day, I want to make sure they don't come back and find their car gone. The law needed a little more compassion."

The revised ordinance calls for the towing of a vehicle found violating the city's code prohibiting loud music. To get the vehicle back, the owner would have five days to request a preliminary hearing before a hearing officer. A city representative would be appointed to determine whether there was a legitimate reason to seize the car.

If the officer decides there was probable cause, or the hearing is waived, then the car would stay impounded until the case is resolved. However, the owner gets the option of posting a cash bond to release the car until a final disposition is reached.

A final hearing before the master would decide the ultimate outcome. If the officer sides with the police, the car would remain impounded until the civil penalty is paid. If the car owner wins, that person would get the car back and wouldn't have to pay any fees associated with the vehicle's seizure.

Turner said the proposed ordinance would give teeth to a 2006 ordinance prohibiting the playing music that is audible 25 feet from a vehicle. Though similar to the state's statute on loud car music, the Brooksville ordinance allows for a first-offense warning. A subsequent offense could earn the car owner a $250 fine; the next offense, $500.

"Really, I don't ever foresee the need for anyone to receive a summons or actually committing a second violation," Turner said. "They'll know the next offense could result in enforcement. I can't imagine anyone disregarding the law then and doing that again."

Also, the City Council agreed Monday to allow Hernando County to terminate a lease for the Property Appraiser's Office about three months early in exchange for some donated computer equipment. City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha said she is hopeful the county will provide the city with some surplus computers, likely a vast improvement over some of the city's outdated equipment.

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Brooksville council gives initial approval to vehicle impoundment ordinance 07/07/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools


    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.
  2. Man in bunny mask part of trio that breaks into Odessa McDonald's to haul away ATM


    ODESSA — A man in a bunny mask and two also-masked accomplices broke into a McDonald's early Wednesday, hoisted an automatic teller machine into a stolen minivan, then dumped the ATM and the van into a pond, deputies say.

    Three masked men, including one in a bunny mask, broke into an Odessa McDonald's early Wednesday and stole the ATM.
 [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest


    Plan your weekend


    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  4. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Jeb Bush on the 'most ridiculous example of political correctness in history'


    Jeb Bush on ESPN's decision to pull commentator Robert Lee from a football broadcast at the University of Virginia.