City of Atlanta parks are public spaces, and visitors to them should be respectful of themselves, others, and park property. There are some specific regulations governing behavior in parks that we would like to emphasize. Those statements are presented below, followed by excerpts from the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances that pertain to City parks. Please consult the online version of the Code of Ordinances for more complete legal information. For information on reserving a pavilion or ballfield, visit the Office of Parks home page.
- Parks are open from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. daily.
- Report illegal activities to 911.
- Place all litter in receptacles.
- All pets must be on a leash in a City park, except in designated areas. Persons with pets must clean up after the pet. No pets are allowed during A, B or C festivals. (For more information about festivals, go to Special Rules for Parks During the Festival Season.)
- No horses or ponies are allowed in any park at any time.
- No vehicles allowed off paved roads or on closed park roads.
- No tents or canopies allowed without the expressed written permission of the Commissioner, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and other permits required by the city.
- No moonwalks, dunk tanks, or any equipment that calls for independent power(except by special permit).
- All games and activities that could damage the lawns are restricted.
- No glass containers allowed.
- No amplified music allowed (except by special permit).
- No selling of food or other items (except by special permit).
- No alcoholic beverages (except by special permit).
- Absolutely no drugs or illegal substances allowed on City property.
Rules Applicable to Piedmont Park Only
- Grilling is allowed only in designated areas and only in grills provided.
No portable grills or ground fires are allowed.
- Pets are not allowed in the lake, on tennis courts, on the ballfields or the playgrounds
EXCERPTS FROM THE CITY OF ATLANTA CODE OF ORDINANCES
Sec. 18-9. Removal of canine fecal matter
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, possessing, harboring or having care, charge, control or custody of any dog not to remove any feces left by that dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, lot or other public area. Dog waste shall be immediately removed by placing said matter in a closed or sealed container and thereafter disposing of it in a trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit or other closed or sealed refuse container.
(b) Each and every violation of this code section shall be punishable to the extent provided by code section 1-8.
(c) This section shall not apply to visually impaired persons who have the charge, control or use of a guide dog.
Sec. 110-56. Violations
(a) The violation of any rule and regulation governing the use of any park shall be deemed a violation of this Code of Ordinances and shall be punished as provided in section 1-8 thereof. In addition to the section 1-8 sanctions, in the event that a person's violation of any park rule or regulation results in damage to a park, including but not limited to its infrastructure or plants, the person also shall be responsible for reimbursing the city for the cost of repairing the damage, or replacing the damaged item(s) if the city finds that replacement is necessary."
(b) Where a rule or regulation governing the use of any park permits an activity only if the activity is approved by the Mayor, or the commissioner or her/his designee, it shall be the duty of the recipient to have the written permission in his/her possession at all times that she/he is engaged in the activity to which the written permission pertains. The procedure to be utilized to obtain written permission shall be set forth in the park reservations policies and procedures promulgated by the department of parks, recreation and cultural affairs, and provided to the public upon request. Any activity that is permitted only upon approval by the mayor, commissioner or her/his designee, shall be deemed unauthorized and shall be deemed a violation of this Code of Ordinances if the person(s) performing the activity does not have possession of the written permission at the time of performing the activity.
(c) In any court hearing or other proceeding involving a rule or regulation governing the use of any park, where the rule or regulation permits an activity only if the activity is approved by the Mayor, or the commissioner or her/his designee, it shall be the duty, responsibility and burden of the defendant to produce credible evidence of the written permission at the hearing or other proceeding. If the defendant fails to produce credible evidence of the written permission, the court shall find that the permission was not granted.
(Code 1977, §§ 10-2022, 17-10001; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 3, 12-9-03)
Sec. 110-57. Authority to adopt
The mayor or the mayor's designee may designate the use of any park or park facility and may adopt appropriate rules and regulations governing the use of park grounds and facilities, the issuance of permits when required and the general operation of all parks and park facilities.
Sec. 110-58. Provisions extended to parks
All laws, provisions of this Code and other ordinances in force in the city for the promotion of the peace, good order and morals thereof are, whenever applicable, hereby extended to and shall embrace the territory included in the public parks; and any person violating any such ordinance shall be subject to the penalties therefore provided in this Code.
Sec. 110-59. Prohibited conduct
(a) No person shall do any of the following in any park:
(1) Climb or lie upon any tree, shrub, fence, statue, monument or fountain.
(2) Enter or leave any park except through established entrances or exits and within established time periods.
(3) Gain or attempt to gain admittance to any park or facility in any park where a charge is made, without paying that charge.
(4) Use any area for changing clothing, other than an area designated for that purpose.
(5) Disregard the notices, prohibitions or directions on any park sign.
(6) Disobey the lawful order of a police officer.
(7) Place or display any sign or advertisement, except that this rule shall not apply to any signs or advertisements regarding any City sponsored or City authorized program, festival, or other event that occurs in the park. Signs or advertisements regarding City sponsored or City authorized programs, festivals or other events may be placed or displayed only with written permission by the commissioner and her/his designee, and only at the locations and during the times authorized in writing by the commissioner and her/his designee.
(8) Play, practice or otherwise participate in any game, sport or other recreational activity that is destructive to the lawn, plants, walls, road, or other infrastructure of a park, except at or upon places designated for that game, sport or recreational activity. By way of example, these activities shall include but not be limited to wearing sneakers with cleats, playing rugby or volleyball, or skateboarding off of park walls.
(9) Knowingly, or through reckless behavior, destroy or damage the lawn, plants, walls, road, or other infrastructure of a park, except by written permission from the commissioner or her/his designee.
(10) Drive stakes, posts, poles or any other device or dig holes for the purpose of securing stakes, posts, poles or any other device for any reason, including to erect a tent, stage or other structure, except by written permission from the commissioner or her/his designee.
(11) Bring in, erect, or permit a minor child in one's custody to bring in and/or erect any inflatable amusements, amusements requiring water, or any amusements requiring an independent power source, except during permitted special events and festivals. This rule shall not apply to city pools and lakes. For purposes of this subsection, inflatable amusements shall not include balls or balloons, and amusements requiring water shall not include water pistols.
(12) Erect a tent or canopy with a finished dimension greater than ten feet by ten feet, or be in possession of an erected tent or canopy with the same dimensions, without receiving the written permission of the commissioner, as well as all other applicable permits required by this Code. This rule shall not apply to Camp Allatoona.
(13) Bring in, carry, possess, or permit a minor child in one's custody to bring in, carry or possess, glass containers except for authorized vendors who shall retain and remove from the park all glass containers utilized in their activities. This rule shall not apply to the Chastain Park amphitheater when performances are being given therein.
(14) Bring in and abandon any animal in a park, including but not limited to cats, ducks, raccoons, opossums, and dogs, without the written permission of the commissioner or her/his designee.
(15) Use a playscape or park bench for other than its intended use and/or purpose.
(16) Dispose of charcoals anywhere inside of a park other than in city-provided receptacles that are clearly marked for charcoal disposal.
(b) The commissioner shall at all times have available in the office of the commissioner, as a part of the rules and regulations of the department, a description of the designated uses of the various areas of each public park. A copy of these rules and regulations shall also be filed with the municipal clerk.
(c) No persons shall congregate or gather within 150 yards of any entrance to the Chastain Park amphitheater during the hours of 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on nights when performances are being given in the Chastain Park amphitheater, unless each such person shall:
(1) Hold a valid ticket for the performances being given on such night;
(2) Be delivering goods or services to the Chastain Park amphitheater or to persons holding valid tickets for such performance;
(3) Be dropping off or picking up passengers who hold valid tickets for such performance; or
(4) Be situated on private property of which such person is the lawful occupant, family member of such lawful occupant or the expressly invited guest of such lawful occupant.
(Code 1977, § 10-2003; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 4, 12-9-03)
Sec. 110-60. Use of public parks at night
(a) No person shall be in any park or upon any park lane or park drive between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. daily, except that the hours for use of the Chastain Park amphitheater are extended until 1:00 a.m. on nights when performances are being given in the Chastain Park amphitheater as provided in section 110-59(c), or except if the person has a festival or assembly permit for consecutive days and is performing duties not possible during the normal festival or assembly hours.
(b) This section shall not prevent the use at any time of thoroughfares that are part of the system of streets and highways of the city which traverse any part or portion of any public park.
(c) No person shall park any vehicle on any of the roads, drives, avenues or parking lots in any park between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. daily. The chief of staff may provide a parking permit exempting a vehicle from this rule, to any person(s) involved with a legitimately permitted event occurring in any park, where the chief of staff finds that said person has a legitimate need to park her/his vehicle in said park between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Nothing in this section shall limit the commissioner's authority to close portions of a park to traffic at other times, as is provided in Code section 110-61.
(Code 1977, § 10-2008; Ord. No. 1997-41, § 1, 7-15-97; Ord. No. 1997-49, § 1, 10-14-97; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 5, 12-9-03)
Sec. 110-61. Closing of drive or avenue in park
(a) The commissioner may close, temporarily or permanently, to vehicular traffic any road, drive or avenue within a public park that is not a part of the municipal street system of the city.
(b) The commissioner shall seek the recommendations of the director, bureau of traffic and transportation whenever any action is to be taken under this section.
Sec. 110-62. Sale of goods, articles or services
No person shall sell goods, articles or services of any nature in the city parks without first obtaining written permission from the mayor or the commissioner; provided, however, that no person shall sell spirituous, vinous or malt liquors in the city parks, except as otherwise provided by ordinance.
Sec. 110-65. Boating and swimming
No person shall engage in boating, swimming or any like activity on any lake, pond or waterway within any park owned or operated by the city. However, this section shall not apply to persons renting boats from the city or its authorized concessionaire and operating them in an area designated for boating or to any city employee while in the performance of assigned duties or to any person comprising part of a rescue squad assisting or carrying out rescue work.
Sec. 110-67. Hunting and fishing
No person shall hunt, shoot or fish in any public park, except as provided by law or rule and regulation.
Sec. 110-69. Protection of plants and animals
(a) No person shall throw rocks or other objects, punch with sticks or other instruments or otherwise provoke or annoy any animal in any public park.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to molest, injure or destroy foliage, plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, birds or bird nests, squirrels, or rabbits in or upon any public park, public property or the property of another, without the permission of the owner, as to private property, or the mayor or designee, as to the property of the city.
(c) Any person in violation of subsection (b) above, where said violation occurs on any public park, shall be subject to the provisions of Code section 110-56. Any person in violation of subsection (b) above, where said violation occurs on any other public property, other than a public park, shall be responsible for fully reimbursing the city for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged plants, and shall be subject to the penalties of City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances section 1-8.
(Code 1977, §§ 10-2018, 17-1005; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 6, 12-9-03)
Cross references: Animals, ch. 18; vegetation, ch. 158.
Sec. 110-70. Pets
(a) No person shall walk any pet in any park except on a leash, unless the area of the park is explicitly designated as an off-leash dog area.
(b) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a pet into a public park to clean up any matter excreted by the pet.
(c) Leashed pets are not prohibited in public parks except in the following areas of any parks:
(2) Swimming pools and pool areas.
(3) Tennis courts.
(4) Golf course.
(5) Within 15 feet of all fences and structures.
(d) Pets are prohibited in parks during permitted class A, class B, and class C outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Pets are permitted in parks during class D and class E outdoor festivals, as defined in section 138-187 and 138-205. Any prohibition on pets during any outdoor festival or special event, regardless of whether the outdoor festival is class A, B, C, D, or E, shall not apply to those animals that are part of a performance, exhibit, or other activity conducted as part of thespecial event or festival, or when those animals are confined to a specific area of the park designated for that purpose.
(e) Subsections (c) and (d) of this section shall not apply to any guide dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a totally or partially blind person or a deaf person, or a service dog especially trained for the purpose of accompanying a physically disabled person, or a dog trained and licensed by and in the possession of the Atlanta Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, or a horse utilized by the city's mounted police patrol.
(f) Certain defined areas of select parks shall be designated as off-leash dog areas. These areas must be completely fenced with a double-gated entrance and exit system. For any area of a park designated as an off-leash dog area, the rules set forth below shall apply. All of the rules below shall be posted on a sign at each entrance to the off-leash area. In the event that the rules are not posted, users of the area shall still be held responsible for knowing and following the rules, and may be fined or otherwise penalized for failure to abide by such rules. These rules may be augmented bythe commissioner or her/his designee should s/he determine that additional rules are needed.
(1) All users of the off-leash area shall assume all risk and liability associated with such an area.
(2) Owners are responsible for the action of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control.
(3) Dog owners have responsibility for watching their dog's behavior. If a dog displays aggressive behavior or fights, the owner shall be responsible for immediately controlling or removing the dog from the off-leash area.
(4) No more than three dogs per owner shall be allowed in the area at one time.
(5) All dogs must wear a collar and ID tag.
(6) All dogs must be properly licensed, healthy, and have current vaccinations.
(7) No puppies under 16 weeks are allowed.
(8) No dogs in heat are allowed.
(9) No dogs are permitted to enter with pronged collars.
(10) Any dog that barks continually must be removed or muzzled by her/his owner.
(11) Owners must clean up after their dogs.
(12) The off-leash areas have double gated entrances. Owners must close and latch both gates after entering or exiting the area.
(13) No children under the age of 12 are allowed in the area without close adult supervision.
(14) The only food of any kind allowed is bite-size dog treats.
(15) Do not feed dogs without the owner's permission.
(16) Bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, jogging or strollers are not allowed.
(17) Dogs are not permitted on benches.
(18) The off-leash area may be closed in times of bad weather or for maintenance.
(19) Serious problems resulting in injury must be reported immediately to the bureau of parks.
(Code 1977, § 10-2015; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 7, 12-9-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, §§ 1, 2, 1-24-05)
Cross references: Animals, ch. 18.
State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1.
Sec. 110-70.1. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Grant Park
(a) For the safety of dogs and zoo animals, dogs shall only be permitted in certain areas of Grant Park, provided the pet is on a leash and controlled by a competent person.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to permit such person's dog within the following areas of Grant Park:
(1) Twenty-one acres of the zoo area and buildings
(2) Cyclorama building and area
(3) Swimming pool and pool area
(4) Tennis court area
(5) Athletic field areas
(c) It shall be the responsibility of any person bringing a dog into Grant Park to clean up any matter excreted by such pet.
Sec. 110-70.2. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Piedmont Park
An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a two and one-half acre parcel of specified parkland within Piedmont Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Inc., at no cost to the City of Atlanta.
(Ord. No. 2002-25, § 1, 4-5-02; Ord. No. 2003-78, § 1, 6-24-03; Ord. No. 2005-04, § 3, 1-24-05)
Sec. 110-70.4. Dogs permitted in certain areas of Frankie Allen Park
(a) An off-leash pet area for dogs shall be established on a half-acre parcel of specified parkland within the Frankie Allen Park. Said area shall be operated, maintained and supervised with appropriate equipment, supplies, signage, and fencing by the David Forehand Memorial Organization, at no cost to the City of Atlanta.
(Ord. No. 2005-54, § 1, 9-12-05)
Sec. 110-71. Horseback riding and similar activities
No person shall engage in horseback riding or shall bring any horse or fasten any horse to any tree or other object in any public park, except at or upon places designated therefore. However, this section shall not apply to law enforcement officers when engaged in their official duties.
Sec. 110-72. Model airplane flying
No person shall engage in model airplane flying in any public park, except at or upon places designated therefore; provided, however, that no person shall operate more than a 35 cc piston displacement motor.
Sec. 110-74. Helicopters
No person shall land a helicopter in any public park unless such helicopter is being used in an emergency situation by emergency personnel, including but not limited to police, fire, civil defense and medical personnel, or unless such authorization is granted by resolution by the city council.
Sec. 110-75. Large gatherings
Any person planning a "large gathering" in a park, where the gathering is reasonably expected to have more than 75 people but not more than 250 people, and is reasonably expected to last for one hour or longer, shall make a park reservation through the commissioner or her/his designee. The specific procedures for making a reservation shall be set forth in the park reservations policies and procedures, which shall be promulgated by the department of parks, recreation and cultural affairs, and provided to the public upon request.
(a) Reservations that do not require the use of a park facility or amenity shall be at no cost.
(b) The cost of making a reservation for a park facility or amenity, including but not limited to the cost of the sanitation deposit and key deposit, shall be set forth in this chapter 110 of the Atlanta Code of Ordinances, section 110-3.
(c) Reservations must be made at least 14 days prior to the gathering so that the city can provide adequate sanitation and security services. An exception to this 14-day requirement shall arise when a gathering occurs within 48 hours of an identifiable event or decision, the date of which could not have been predicted with certainty, including but not limited to an announcement regarding a military action, an announcement of a court decision, or a death, in which event the reservation shall be made as early as possible so that the city can provide adequate services.
(d) Reservations shall be granted based upon availability and on a first come first served basis. Where there are competing applications which are substantially for the same time and place, the earlier or earliest application to be received in a substantially completed form accompanied by the requisite fee and deposits, if any, shall be given priority as to the time and place requested, except that applications from city residents, or on behalf of groups whose primary location is inside the City of Atlanta, shall be given priority over applications from non-city residents or on behalf of groups whose primary location is outside of the City of Atlanta.
(e) In the event that a person or group has a large gathering and fails to leave the park in the state in which it was prior to the large gathering, and the city spends more than one hour performing clean-up or restorative action necessary to return the area of the park utilized by the large gathering to its status prior to the large gathering, the person or group shall be responsible for reimbursing the city for the cost of such clean-up and restoration activities within 30 days of receiving a bill from the city. The city shall deny a future reservation to any person or group, or person representing a group that has not paid its bill in full. Any person or group, or person representing a group that failed to pay the bill within 30 days of receipt will be required to provide a sanitation bond in the amount of said bill as a condition of making any future park reservation.
(f) In the event that the lawn, plants, walls, road, or other infrastructure of a park is damaged during and as a result of a large gathering, the person or group making the reservation for the large gathering shall be responsible for reimbursing the city for the cost of repairing the damage, or replacing the damaged item(s) if the city finds that replacement is necessary.
(g) The commissioner or the chief of staff shall have the authority to revoke a large gathering reservation in the event that the reservation applicant provides false information to the city, or in the event that the city determines that the person or group holding the large gathering has an outstanding debt with the city, or when, by reason of disaster, public calamity, riot or other emergency, the commissioner or the chief of staff, in consultation with the police chief, determines that the safety of the public or property requires revocation, provided that neither the commissioner nor the chief of staff shall revoke such park reservation based on the race, color, creed, religion, gender, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation or gender identity of the participants of the large gathering nor on any message that may be associated with the large gathering.
(h) In the event that a person or group holds a large gathering without obtaining a reservation, the person or group shall be responsible for paying all costs that would have been owed had a reservation been obtained, including but not limited to the costs set forth in subsections 110-75(e) and (f) above. The commissioner, or his/her designee, shall issue a bill for the total amount owed, and the bill shall be paid in full within 30 days of receipt of the bill. In addition, any person who holds a large gathering without a reservation, as provided in this article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction such person shall be required to work on the public streets or on public works of the city for not more than six months, and shall be subject to the other penalties set forth in section 1-8 of the Atlanta Code of Ordinances.
(Code 1977, § 10-2029; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 8, 12-9-03)
State law references: Right to have guide dog in public place, O.C.G.A. § 30-4-1.
Sec. 110-76. Prohibited conduct in parks during outdoor festivals, assemblies, and special events
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person using a park during a permitted outdoor festival, as defined in section 138-187 of this Code of Ordinances, a permitted assembly, as defined in section 138-232,or a special event, to do, or permit a minor child in his/her custody to do, any of the following acts:
(1) Ride, drive or operate bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds or any other motor vehicles, or ride skateboards or skates onto prohibited areas in the park. The prohibited areas shall include the children's area, vending locations, craft demonstration area, performing arts venues, health and fitness expos, hot air balloon staging areas, roads, walks, courts, pools, and athletic fields. These items may be carried into or through prohibited areas if they are not ridden. This provision shall not apply to emergency medical personnel, nor to officials or employees of the City of Atlanta, acting in their official capacity, nor to vendors who are restocking their merchandise. In addition, this provision shall not apply to outdoor festival or special event workers during set up, take down, and restocking of an outdoor festival or special event. Lastly, this provision shall not apply to outdoor festival or special event organizers whose names are listed on the outdoor festival or special event permit. No greater that 12 outdoor festival or other event organizers shall be listed on any outdoor festival or special event permit.
(2) Bring in, carry, or in any way possess, play or operate any radio, musical instrument or similar device which is producing or reproducing sound in the park in such a manner as to be plainly audible to other persons in the park, other than the operator of the device. This subsection shall not apply to persons performing in the outdoor festival, assembly, or special event. All radios and musical devices with earphones are permitted.
(3) Bring, carry or in any way possess charcoal-fired portable grills. This provision shall not prohibit the use of charcoal in city grills placed in the park for public use.
(4) Engage in outdoor cooking in any area except where a city grill has been provided for public use. This provision shall not prohibit the use of gas grills placed within five feet of a city grill. This provision shall not apply to authorized outdoor festival or special event vendors.
(b) City rules regarding whether pets shall be allowed in a park during a permitted outdoor festival, as defined in section 138-187, or a special event, are set forth in Code section 110-70(d) and (e).
(Code 1977, § 10-2030; Ord. No. 2003-112, § 9, 12-9-03)
Sec. 110-77. Posting bills and notices
Any person who, in any park, shall post bills or notices shall be guilty of an offense and shall be punished as provided in section 1-8; provided however, that the mayor or designee may allow bills and/or notice signs to be temporarily placed in any park when, in the discretion of the mayor or designee, such sign will be beneficial to any municipal or public endeavor, athletic or otherwise.
Sec. 110-86. Use of drives and avenues
The roads, drives and avenues in public parks shall be open only to the use of pedestrians and bicycle riders and the occupants of vehicles in use for pleasure drives. No vehicles engaged in hauling for traffic or commerce shall use such roads, drives or avenues, except for the delivery of materials or other supplies necessary for the maintenance of the parks or for persons conducting business within the limits of the parks or with the written permission of the commissioner. However, nothing in this section shall prohibit the policing of public parks by law enforcement officers.
Sec. 110-87. Driving across parks
No person shall drive any vehicle upon or across any part of any public park, except upon roadways laid out and maintained for vehicular travel. This section shall not apply to city employees whose duties require them to drive on park property and who are authorized to do so by the commissioner.
Sec. 110-88. Parking prohibited at certain times in all parks
No person shall park any vehicle on any of the roads, drives, avenues or parking lots in any public park between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. daily.
Sec. 110-89. Unauthorized parking of vehicles in parks
No person shall park any vehicle upon any of the roads, drives, avenues or parking lots or at any other place within any park when the person is not using the park or any of its related facilities. This section shall not apply to city employees in the conduct of city business.
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