By ASHLEY HELMS
Fines related to parking in the downtown permit-only areas and the Harbor Island Park boat trailer parking locations in the Village of Mamaroneck are slated to be reduced.
The village also eliminated the tiered increases in parking fines for both areas, stemming from the fact that parking enforcement equipment isn’t able to differentiate between the types of parking tickets; including those for expired meters or unlawfully parking in permit-only spaces.
The fines have been reduced to approximately $25 in the downtown permit-only areas, similar to the penalty for parking at an expired meter, in order to be more consistent. Village Manager Richard Slingerland said the fine was almost double what it would be to buy a permit.
Before the change, the fine to park at a downtown permit-only area was around $40.
Once the fine changes are programmed into the parking meter reading equipment, the changes will take effect. This is expected to happen in the next three to four weeks, the village manager said.
“We got complaints from people who would come for a night out and get a ticket for parking in a permit-only area,” he said, in reference to the high fines.
Areas of Prospect Avenue and Spencer Place will be affected by the fine changes, Slingerland said. The permits for these areas are typically purchased by homeowners and local business owners.
The issue of parking has long been a contentious one in both the town and village of Mamaroneck. In August, the town passed legislation that allows police officers to scan license plates of vehicles in the unincorporated area and, depending on the number of outstanding tickets owed, to tow the vehicle. This measure was enacted to help reduce the number of outstanding tickets the town had no other method of collecting.
In June, the village debated whether to extend the parking meter hours of effectiveness in the business district for four extra hours. This was met with opposition by restaurant and shop owners, who said the extension would hurt their profits as well as the image of the village.
Trustee Leon Potok, a Democrat, said the change in permit parking space fines is quite technical and that the change wasn’t a matter of flawed policy, but more an effort to keep the parking laws clear and equal.
“The law was written and defined and changed in a way that didn’t seem to be fair,” Potok said.
Potok said drivers would park their vehicles at Harbor Island Park when there wasn’t an attendant there to collect the parking fee, leaving them subject to a parking ticket that cost them more than it would have to park had the attendant been present in the first place.
“It seemed unfair to charge the fine more than the fee,” Potok said.