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Spot-savers halted for PTC parade, fireworks

One July 4 tradition in Peachtree City will have to be put off until the last minute: the placement of tarps and blankets to “save a spot” for viewing the parade and fireworks.

The City Council passed a new ordinance Thursday night that will forbid the placement of tarps, blankets and the like along city property and city right of way until dawn that morning.

Anyone who dares to deploy a spot-saving device a day or more in advance risks it being confiscated by the city where it could perhaps be sold or trashed at a later date.

Council had received some pushback from residents complaining about the policy, and Councilwoman Kim Learnard said council “had to do something” about the issue, but also could be adjusted after this year.

Mayor Don Haddix agreed that the ordinance could be changed in the future, noting that some who contacted council didn’t want to see any blankets down at all to those who want to be able to place theirs any time.

The new rule is a response to to the proliferation of tarps and blankets used along the parade route and also around Lake Peachtree and other areas for viewing of the annual fireworks bonanza. Because the tarps and blankets appeared several days in advance of the actual holiday last year, city officials saw the need to prevent such an occurrence this year.

The ordinance maintains a ban on the use of items such as tents, stakes and barricades to save July 4 viewing spots, cited as potential hazards to motorists’ views and/or a tripping hazard for pedestrians.

City staff has suggested the need to prepare for additional storage receptacles and/or dumpsters to store or throw away items that are removed prior to the morning of the holiday. At the same time, however, the city will not need to pay for additional care to restore the grass.

Last July 4 was on a Wednesday and the first “spot savers” came out Sunday, forcing a proliferation of folks anxious to claim their fireworks and parade-viewing spots on the traditional unspoken “first come, first served” rule, city officials said. Those tarps and blankets damaged a fair amount of grass because they were deployed for more than three days, depriving the grass of sunlight, officials said.

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