Town officials recently voted to start charging handicapped permit-holders who park in designated spaces in metered lots such as Morse Court and Center School, changing the longtime local practice of allowing them to park for free. Members of the Parking Commission at their Jan. 10 meeting voted 4-1 to make the change. Chairman Keith Richey said during the meeting that handicapped motorists park for free on downtown streets such as Elm, just as non-handicapped people do.
“But then there are handicapped spots in some of these metered lots, like Morse Court, and right now we are not not charging,” Richey said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “And Center Lot, there are a couple [of handicapped spaces] there.
A divided Parking Commission last week upheld a $25 ticket for a motorist who said he didn’t pay for a space at Morse Court because he believed Dec. 5 was a national holiday. Steven Colfin told Commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday that it was a “national day of mourning.”
“There is a sign there saying” no one has to pay for parking on holidays, Colfin told the Commission during his appeal hearing, held at Town Hall. “It was the Wednesday of the national day of morning for president George H.W. Bush, the federal government was closed, markets were closed, I took it as a holiday.”
Chairman Keith Richey said, “It’s the holiday defense.”
He added, “Actually, I think that’s a pretty good defense, as a mater of fact.”
A parking enforcement officer issued the ticket at 12:11 p.m. that day.
Commissioner Pam Crum asked Colfin whether he parked and then went to get lunch, and he said yes.
During deliberations, Crum said, “I’m sorry, it is not a holiday.”
Richey responded, “Actually it was a holiday.”
Asked to clarify, Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg, a guest at the meeting, said New Canaan only waives parking fees on “federal holidays.”
“People have asked me whether there’s other holidays throughout the year and people will call up, ‘It’s such-and-such, is it a holiday?’ ” Miltenberg said. Richey and Commissioner Stuart Stringfellow voted to void the ticket, while Crum and Commissioner Chris Hering voted to uphold it, leaving the decisive vote to Commissioner Peter Ogilvie.
Town officials this month voided two of three $25 parking tickets given to a Forest Street man who claimed he’s kept his car in the same on-street spot in front of his home for more than two years without a problem. Joseph Morcerino of 170 Forest St. told members of the Parking Commission at their Nov. 1 meeting that he parked his car in its usual spot when he left for vacation Sept. 28 to Oct.
On its busiest day, the mobile app that allows commuters to park in the St. Aloysius Church lot has seen fewer than half of the available spaces taken, officials say.
It isn’t clear whether the limited use of the Boxcar app reflects lack of demand or awareness, limitations in the mobile service itself, overly high rates, rigid parking habits or something else, officials said during Thursday’s meeting of the Parking Commission. Though use of the St. A’s lot has grown since the Boxcar spaces opened in September with $7 daily rates, “the state lots at $5 fill up first,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the Commission’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “So at $7 I think it is probably a bit high,” Moynihan said.
The Parking Commission at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to uphold a $150 ticket issued to a New Canaan man for parking in a handicapped zone on Elm Street.
Though Charles Woodman did not attend the Commission’s special meeting Sept. 11 at Town Hall, but his appeal was briefly discussed as the group voted to uphold or void tickets that were appealed.
According to Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg, a police officer issued the ticket to Woodman at 10:14 a.m. on July 11 after watching him park in a handicapped zone in front of Dunkin’ Donuts.
“[The officer] specifically told him he couldn’t park there,” Miltenberg said. “And not that the young man was disrespectful, but he kind of went back and forth with the officer, and the officer has had previous run-ins with him as far as parking and things like that and he parked right in front of the handicapped sign.”
Miltenberg then detailed her own discussion with Woodman after the ticket was issued, when he paid a visit to her office.
“I explained to him that you can’t, for any reason, park in a handicapped parking spot and he said to me that ‘My friend told me that police officers are not allowed to give me parking tickets,’ ” she recalled. “And my first words [to him] were ‘Do not ever listen to your friend again about anything.’ ”
Commission Chairman Keith Richey announced that the meeting that he would recuse himself from voting on Woodman’s appeal because he knows him personally, however, he did ask, “What kind of an appeal is that anyhow?”
Commissioners Peter Ogilvie, Pam Crum, Stuart Stringfellow and Chris Hering all voted to uphold Woodman’s ticket.