Parking Commission members at their most recent meeting voted 3-1 to uphold a $20 ticket for a man who claimed to have been held up unexpectedly at the eye doctor.
The split decision came after Yong Sung Kim made his case at the commission’s Nov. 9 meeting.
Kim said he paid for about one hour at the Morse Court parking lot to visit a Main Street optometrist, but that when he got to the doctor’s office, “there were two or three people ahead of me and basically I was just waiting.”
He asked the receptionist how long he’d have to wait to see the eye doctor and was told “soon,” Kim recalled. Then, the staff there put some eye drops into Kim’s eyes and when he said that he had to, told him that it was “too dangerous to go downstairs” until his vision cleared, he told the commissioners at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
According to Kim’s timeline, his time on the meter expired “around” 3:30 p.m. and he was ticketed about 20 minutes later.
However, a review of the meter record and ticket showed that Kim overstayed far longer than that, leading three commissioners to vote to uphold—Peter Ogilvie, Chris Hering and Pam Crum.
Keith Richey, the commission’s chairman, said that Kim likely thought the 45 minutes he paid for “would be enough” and told the appellant that he should “feel very good” about his defense.
“It rarely takes more than 15, 20 minutes” to visit the eye doctor, Richey said.
“They have me in and out of there,” he said.
However, Ogilvie responded: “You obviously do not have your eyes checked.”
Commissioner Stuart Stringfellow was absent from the meeting.
During the group’s deliberation, Ogilvie said: “If we void this [ticket], then what we are doing is saying, ‘It’s OK to pay 25 cents and stay for an hour.’ ”
When Crum pointed out that the ticket was the first ever issued for Kim, Ogilvie answered: “That is not the point. The point is the principal.”
Though Kim indicated that he had paid for about one hour of parking prior to his 2:45 p.m. appointment, the record showed that he in fact parked at 2:28 p.m. and paid for only 45 minutes, according to Crum. What’s more, the ticket itself wasn’t issued until 3:40 p.m., 27 minutes after it had expired, Crum said.
Parking Superintendent Stacy Miltenberg gave the commissioners some context, saying that most of those who are ticket for an unpaid space had paid when they parked but stayed past their time.
“We try to suggest to people that if you’re going in for appointments, which they may not always go on time, so throw more into the machine to cover yourself,” Miltenberg said.
Ogilvie said Miltenberg “put her finger on the underlying issue.”
“People put 25 cents in and they stay for two hours and this guy claims because he has problems in his eyes,” Ogilvie said. “Well you can walk out of the doctor’s office and put 25 cents in.”
Crum added that it’s possible also to ask the receptionist at this particular eye doctor’s office to put the money in for you as a client.
The office is “right on the street,” Ogilvie said.