Builders win fight to have fines canceled

Some of the parking fines, which go back 10 or more years, had swollen to more than NIS 100,000 each.

After years of fighting city hall, Tel Aviv's building contractors have won a battle to have thousands of parking fines imposed upon them canceled, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. Some of the fines, which go back 10 or more years, had swollen to more than NIS 100,000 each. According to the report, the struggle began over the city's demand that building contractors clear away the waste from their work sites while at the same time refusing to allow them to place garbage dumpsters in car-parking spaces to enable them to do so. In many cases, the car-parking area was the only place where there was room for a large dumpster. The city insisted that the contractors attach a parking card to each dumpster, as if it were a vehicle, and if there was no card or if it had expired, inspectors would issue a parking fine. Many contractors refused to pay the fines, which accumulated interest and penalty fees. Finally, a group of 13 contractors decided that they had had enough, and took the city to the Tel Aviv District Court. After protracted discussions, they recently succeeded in forcing the city into a compromise, to which the court has given the force of law. Under the compromise, building contractors will be allowed to place dumpsters in parking spaces as long as they are not in disabled parking spots and as long as they do not block pedestrian crossings or bus stops. All the old fines imposed on builders who placed dumpsters in regular parking spaces will be canceled, while those who placed dumpsters in disabled spots or at bus stops will still have to pay the fines, but will not have to pay interest or penalty fees. "I am happy that after years of battling, the city has finally come to an arrangement with us," a builders' representative said. "I personally have been fighting the city for more than 10 years over fines that were issued to me. … We have now committed ourselves to abide by the conditions decided in the compromise agreement and to park the dumpsters only in the permitted places. This agreement is excellent for the city and for the builders, and most importantly serves residents of the city." No comment was reported from the city.