Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Town to Enforce Parking Laws Downtown

Acting in response to complaints and a perception of widespread non compliance, the Town Council decided this week to begin a "determined" effort to stop parking violations in the downtown area.

The move is based on both safety concerns and the need for proper traffic flow, said Mayor Jody McLeod.

"We need to have a little more control," the Mayor said. "We have a problem, and we need to do what we can to help."

Police will begin immediately giving out "warning tickets" to violators---a practice that will continue until the end of the year. But, beginning Jan. 1, anyone still parking improperly downtown will be given a "notice of violation" which carries a $25 penalty that must be paid within five days. Anyone who fails to pay within that period will be charged a $25 "delinquency" fee.

The Council also adjusted the parking ordinance to give town laws "more teeth" in dealing with violators. Parking violations will no longer be considered criminal acts subject to fines. Instead, violations will be handled as a civil matter subject to penalties. The change means the town can go to civil court to collect unpaid penalties.

The change from criminal to civil also means the town can hold on to penalty funds. In previous years, parking fines went to the state.

The adjustments were intended to be responsive to Council instructon, Biggs said.

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