Lebanon, N.H., Will Enforce Overnight Parking Ban, Which Critics Say Punishes Homelessness

Dec 8, 2016

The City of Lebanon, New Hampshire, has passed an ordinance that will ban overnight parking. Those caught violating the ban will be given 48 hours to vacate or face a $100 fine.

The ordinance has faced scrutiny over the past six months from local residents and the ACLU of New Hampshire. They say the ordinance unfairly punishes people experiencing homelessness.

The city council voted for the final iteration of the ordinance in a 5-2 decision on Wednesday evening.

Erling Heistad is a Lebanon city councilor who voted for the ordinance, with reservations. He thinks it's a step in the right direction, and says the ordinance is open to revisions in the future.

“The original proposal was more aggressive and did not have as many exceptions built into it as what we have presently,” he told VPR on Thursday morning.

As part of the policy, people can apply for permits to live in vehicles and avoid fines. Police officers enforcing the ordinance are also required to tell people about the human services available in the area.