A proposed ordinance that would regulate the parking of vehicles on city streets received its first reading before Sherwood City Council on Aug. 27.
But one Sherwood man contends the ordinance is designed to stop him and his one-man mission to halt Pulaski County Special School District buses from driving by his home twice per day each school day.
Mack Hinson, 9432 Johnson Drive, has been at odds with the city of Sherwood and its city police department as the one man who has been the most vocal as the town protester about the school buses going through Miller’s Crossing en route to Sylvan Hills Middle School.
"They are in complete violation of my rights in that I can’t park outside my home. I can’t advertise for a new city administration," said Hinson, who is concerned about the proposed ordinance.
Hinson’s battle with the city started near the end of the 2011-12 school year he started parking his vehicles with protest signs on the curb outside of his Johnson Drive home.
Hinson repeatedly called the city police department, informing officers that buses were speeding. He claimed that some buses were going as fast as 40 mph.
In the days following last spring Hinson’s claim about regular speeding buses, the city police department began an enforcement program and officers claimed they found one motorist who was speeding.
But the city’s enforcement action did not stop Hinson, who said Johnson Drive should not be used as a route for school buses.
Hinson and other Johnson Drive residents expressed the frustration that middle school buses haven’t been using the Arkansas 107/Johnson Drive intersection to get quick access to the new middle school.
School and city officials have argued for several months that the intersection was not made wide enough to accommodate school buses so an alternative route through Miller’s Crossing was chosen. Now the school buses twice a day in numbers ranging from 20-40 twice a day go through the neighborhood of $200,000-$300,0000 homes en route to the school.
While city and school officials decided months ago to maintain the current route, that had not stopped Hinson who wants the buses to stop going by his house. In the weeks following the beginning of his protest, he filed a police report against one school bus driver that he claimed made an obscene gesture with her middle finger at him as she drove by one day.
Police officers told Hinson they could not stop someone from making the middle-finger gesture because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such action is protected free speech.
According to the proposed ordinance, the city council wishes to encourage responsible, courteous parking by vehicle owners of operational, licensed, and insured vehicles on city streets.
"Parking of any box type vehicle except for the purpose of immediate delivery in allowable parking areas is prohibited," according to the proposed ordinance. "From time to time it may be necessary to post areas to prohibit parking based on sight distance and obstructions of new because of difficulty navigating curves and includes or because of heavy traffic on major and minor arterial streets posing a danger for drivers or pedestrians."
Hinson said if the ordinance would be adopted it could stop what he has been doing with respect to parking vehicles outside of his house on the curb in an attempt to slow the speed of buses.
"I don’t see how this could not be seen as directed towards me," Hinson said.
Alderman Ken Keplinger said if the ordinance is adopted by the council it would be in place for all of Sherwood and not just Miller’s Crossing where Hinson lives.
Penalties for violating the ordinance would be no less than $50 and no more than $250.
The ordinance is expected to have its second reading when the council meets again on Sept. 24.