Sofia city hall to appeal parking ruling in high court
Sofia city hall will appeal the city court ruling that declared a number of city parking regulations void, the city’s transport commission chairperson Radoslav Toshev said on February 25.
The city hall will have its legal case that it will present to the Supreme Administrative Court inside the two-week deadline for appeal, he said. The city hall decided to lodge the appeal in the high court because the lower court’s ruling did invalidate the underpinnings of the city hall regulations, only a small number of specific provisions, he said.
On February 24, Sofia City Court ruled that the city hall’s Centre for Urban Mobility did not have the legal right to require residents of central Sofia to buy parking stickers to park their cars in front of their homes. The centre was also not empowered to impound improperly parked cars in the city, the court ruled.
Sofia’s new parking regulations, passed last year and in effect since October, were challenged in court by several civil associations of Sofia residents. The associations even held several protests in the summer of 2012, but were unable to delay the regulations from going into effect by more than one month.
The parking regulations will remain in effect while the appeal is heard by the high court.
The regulations, passed by Sofia city hall in March 2012, envision the expansion of the “blue zone” pair parking area in Sofia and the creation of a “green zone” paid parking area.
Residents of those areas are be allowed to purchase parking stickers priced at 150 leva a year/15 leva a month in the central “blue zone” and 100 leva a year/10 leva a month in the outlying “green zone”. Parking stickers for a second car are priced much higher – 450 leva a year in the “blue zone” and 300 leva a year in the “green zone”.
Toshev said that the parking stickers were meant to ease the financial burden on residents of those areas, otherwise they would have to pay the regular parking price – two leva an hour for the “blue zone” and one leva an hour in the “green zone”.
Another provision voided by Sofia City Court was the one that gave allowed city hall-owned cars to park in paid parking areas for free.
However, the court refused ruled to uphold other parts of the regulations, challenged by the lawsuit, namely the city hall’s right to introduce paid hourly parking in the city, as well as it right to sell parking permits to corporate entities that wished to reserve parking spots in paid parking areas for their exclusive use.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)