Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Warning: Don't Illegally Paint the Curb Outside Your Business

When it comes to urban businesses, the fight to provide customer parking is often fraught with local, state, and federal restrictions and requirements, not to mention local politics. However, businesses can learn a lesson from a small business in Albuquerque that ignored the permitting process and just painted the curb in front of their door to designate a loading zone.

In most locales, there are specific rules and regulations as to when a curb can be painted to designate a specific type of parking, or prohibition against parking. Red curbs mean no parking, yellow curbs are for loading zones, and white curbs are for valets or passenger pickup and drop off.

Painting Your Own Curb

Businesses that need loading zones or passenger pickup/drop off zones must apply to their local government for the right to place these parking restrictions on public streets. They generally cannot legally paint their own curbs, or pay a third party to do so. Usually, local governments will require a business to pay for the installation as well as a fee for annual maintenance.

When one Albuquerque business painted their own curb, the city responded to other local businesses complaints and took action. Although the city removed the self-painted curb, no punitive actions were taken against the business. The city stated that if the business painted the curb again, they would be charged the normal fees for having a loading zone.

Not Very Neighborly

While the Albuquerque business only faces a minor slap on the wrist, if you can even call it that, it is never a good idea to violate laws that affect neighboring businesses. Small businesses, in particular, often rely on publicly available resources, like street parking.

Taking away street parking threatens the livelihood of small businesses that depend on customers that need the nearby parking. Doing so illegally, particularly when the fees are less than a couple hundred bucks, is very likely to draw the ire of fellow business owners.

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