Officials recently voided a $30 ticket issued to a Darien woman who admitted that she had obstructed two spaces in parking at Morse Court.
Yet Alexandra Eising told members of the Parking Commission during an appeal hearing that she was forced to park over the line because the car next to her already was parked that way and she didn’t want someone else pulling in and dinging her two-week-old vehicle.
Eising said she’d been in a rush to get to an 11 a.m. class at Go Figure and pulled into one of the straight spots up against the Mobil station.
“I was rushing to get to my class and the car on the right side of me was so far over, so I parked far over because I didn’t want them to open their door into my car,” she said at the March 8 hearing, held in Town Hall.
“So when I came back I was five minutes late, I got a late fine—which I deserved, because I was five minutes late—but I also got I took up two spots, so I said, Well that’s funny because my wheel is on the line. So I called parking violations, I looked at the ticket online first and I saw that it’s on the line, and I called parking violations and I said, You know I’m calling because, I totally get that I was five minutes late, but I got a ticket for taking up two spots and the reason why maybe I was so far over was this car next to me at 11, I got the ticket at 12, so the car was probably gone when the guy went to ticket me. I said it’s because the car was so close and he said were you driving a silver SUV? And I said Yes, and he said I was the one who gave you that ticket and he said it was because the front of your car was not perfectly straight. And I was like I didn’t know that was a violation. I didn’t know that’s now an issue with parking. So OK, clearly I have an issue with this. What do I do? I don’t mean to be angry about this. I’m a law-abiding citizen.”
Ultimately, Eising prevailed on the commission to void the ticket 4-0. Those casting votes were Chairman Keith Richey, Pam Crum, Chris Hering and Peter Ogilvie. Commissioner Stuart Stringfellow was absent.
Hering said the spots in question are “pretty tight.”
Crum asked Eising why she didn’t park in the next space over which—according to a photo taken by the ticketing enforcement officer—was empty.
Eising replied that the spot probably wasn’t empty when she got there.
“I have to be honest, it was an hour before [the ticket was issued] when I got there,” she said. “And you know when you are rushing to get somewhere? Honestly, I do not take up two spots normally.”
Eising added that while the parking enforcement officer with whom she dealt was very friendly, she disagreed with him about whether she had committed a violation.
“Listen, this is a $30 ticket,” she said. “I am here because I don’t think this is fair. It’s not fair. I said I cannot let this go. It is not fair.”
During deliberations, Crum noted in studying the photo that Eising’s car was not simply “on the line” as the appellant had described.
“The back tire is in from the line completely and then the front is way over,” Crum said. “So it’s not just over.”
Even so, Richey said, the commission routinely would void tickets cases where the enforcement officers have no way of knowing just how “neighboring” cars had been parked prior to the would-be offenders pulling in.
In fact, Richey said, he himself parked over the line that very night in the Town Hall lot because the car next to him was over the line.
That revelation prompted Ogilvie to turn to Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg, a guest at the meeting.
“Stacy, could you run out and do some work in the back lot?” Ogilvie said with a smile.
Crum noted that Eising has an extensive history of parking violations, saying, “You have had a number of tickets.”
Yet those were for overtime parking, Eising said, and the tickets were paid.