Fight over parking spaces at DeKalb County apartment complex

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A parking lot war, of sorts, has broken out at a DeKalb County apartment complex over handicapped parking spaces.

Residents living in two of the buildings at the county-operated Spring Chase complex said there is no place to park because all of the parking in front of their buildings are designated as handicapped parking.

The Housing Authority of DeKalb County said it’s complying with federal rules even if many are inconvenienced.

It’s not hard to find residents who’ve received handicapped parking tickets at the Spring Chase apartment complex where 23 handicapped spaces line the fronts of buildings eight and nine.

Some like Bezawit Ayicheh are concerned for their safety.

“So we have to park all the way behind the trash and we got to walk all the way here so it’s kind of scary for us,” said Ayicheh.

She and others told FOX 5 News DeKalb County Police started issuing tickets about two weeks ago at the complex.

“I live in building nine the same space I’ve been parking for the last five years I got a ticket here, two weeks ago,” said Curtis Gullerson, one of the residents.

According to the American with Disabilities Act, for every one hundred parking spaces four handicapped spaces are needed.

In the case of Spring Chase with 638 total parking spaces, two percent of the parking spaces should be allocated to handicapped parking.

“We are in both fair housing as well as ADA compliance,” said Tim Willett with the Housing Authority of DeKalb County.

Willett said the complex is complying with the two-percent rule.

But many of the handicapped spaces are in the one location leaving several other buildings without any handicapped parking at all.

Willett said housing is now considering a renovation plan to spread out the handicapped parking spots.

“We’re absolutely looking at dispersing that throughout the community to make it a little bit more level of a field so to speak,” said Willett.

He said the row of handicapped parking was in place when the county bought the property years ago. But he also told FOX 5 News he can’t do anything about the $200 parking tickets for residents who have been warned by the complex.

“I’m gonna fight it I cannot afford it because I park right there that’s my car over there so I come late at night,” said Awil Falag, one of the residents.

The DeKalb County Police Department said it will meet with residents and the Imam of a local Mosque on Friday morning at the complex to discuss the parking ticket situation.

The residents said one person who needs handicapped parking lives in the two buildings affected.