AG Coakley Approves Foxborough’s Parking Ban During Stadium Events
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office informed the town last week it approved the parking bylaw that prohibits parking fees in residential areas during Gillette Stadium events. The bylaw was approved at May’s Town Meeting.
Foxborough is one step closer to enforcing a parking ban in residential areas of town, as well as nearby communities like Sharon, during Gillette Stadium events as part of a parking bylaw that passed Town Meeting in May.
The town received the necessary approval from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office last week to move forward with its parking bylaw during Gillette Stadium events that exceed crowds of 15,000.
In an Aug. 8 letter addressed to Foxborough Town Clerk Robert Cutler Jr. from Assistant Attorney General Margaret Hurley, the town was informed the AG’s Office approved the “amendments to the Foxborough bylaws adopted under Article 24” on the warrant, which was approved, 73-50, at May’s Annual Town Meeting.
The bylaw aims to regulate parking for a fee in residential areas during any event in which the number of tickets available for sale exceeds 15,000 unless otherwise authorized by a license issued by the Board of Selectmen pursuant to the “Licensing Procedure and Regulations for Commercial Parking,” according to Hurley's letter.
While the AG's Office approved the amendments to the bylaw, she suggested the town consult with Town Counsel Richard Gelerman to “ensure it is in compliance” with the general law related to who approves the licenses for commercial parking because “it is not clear from Article 24 or the current version of the ‘Licensing Procedure and Regulations for Commercial Parking,’ whether the town’s fire chief is required to approve the licenses for commercial parking, as the statute requires.”
Hurley also noted the AG’s Office considered whether the amendments adopted under Article 24 should have been adopted as amendments to Foxborough’s zoning by-law instead of as amendments to the town’s general by-laws, but determined the town already regulates “temporary parking lots” through its zoning bylaws and this is the first time, according to Hurley, “the town has supplemented its existing regulatory scheme with a general bylaw, which regulates parking for a fee.”
“It does not appear to be an inappropriate exercise of the town’s general police power to require all persons in town to abide by the Licensing Procedure and Regulations for Commercial Parking if they wish to provide parking for a fee,” Hurley wrote, calling the bylaw a “classic exercise of the town’s general police power.”
Any violation of this parking bylaw, as stated in town warrant article 24, may result in a $100 fine.
“Each vehicle parked in violation of this parking bylaw shall constitute a separate offense,” Article 24 states. “Each day any vehicle is parked in violation of this parking bylaw shall constitute a separate offense.”
Hurley said during the AG’s review of the bylaw that some Foxborough residents reached out to Coakley’s office requesting the amendments to the town’s Police Regulations of the general bylaws be rejected on various policy grounds but the AG’s review yielded no violations of general law and therefore was approved.
“We appreciate the input but the Attorney General’s review of bylaws is limited to the bylaw’s consistency with substantive and procedural law, rather than a consideration of the policy arguments for or against the enactment,” Hurley wrote. “Because the bylaw is consistent with the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth, we are constrained to approve it.”
As for when the bylaw takes effect, Hurley notes the town must first fulfill the necessary requirements.
“Neither general nor zoning bylaws take effect unless the town has first satisfied the posting/publishing requirements of that statute,” Hurley wrote. “Once this statutory duty is fulfilled, general bylaws and amendments take effect on the date that these posting and publishing requirements are satisfied unless a later effective date is prescribed in the bylaw.”
The town currently has signage in place along North Street and nearby neighborhoods stating "No Parking During Stadium Events Tow Zone."
Town officials did not respond to Patch inquiries Tuesday as to when they expect the parking ban to take effect.
It is a busy rest of the month for events at Gillette Stadium, with Bruce Springsteen performing in town on Aug. 18, the New England Patriots hosting the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, Aug. 20 in a Monday Night Football preseason game and the annual New England Country Music Festival featuring Kenny Chesney taking place on Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25.
The New England Patriots do not play an NFL regular season game at Gillette Stadium until Sept. 16 against the Arizona Cardinals. Two Sharon teens were taken into protective custody during the Pats' preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 9.