Commission: Don’t Give Parking Enforcement Officers Ability to Void Tickets Once They’re Written

The volunteers who help oversee New Canaan’s Parking Bureau said this month pushed back on the idea of empowering enforcement officers to void tickets once they’ve been written. 

Parking Commission Chairman Keith Richey broached the idea during the appointed body’s Sept. 4 meeting, saying that in certain cases—for example, where someone happened to be in a double-parked or otherwise mis-parked vehicle, or was unaware of a loading zone rule—it could make sense to empower the enforcement officer to retract a ticket. 

Yet doing so would bring new risks, the commissioners said. 

“It puts the officer on the street in an awkward position when the townsperson says look I lived in New Canaan for 39 yrs and I am a senior citizen and I am really important in New Canaan and I think you ought to waive this ticket,” Commissioner Peter Ogilvie said during the special meeting, held at Town Hall. 

“Well, if the officer has the legal ability to waive right then and there on the street, the officer is going to feel pretty intimidated by some of these people. I don’t think you want to give that right to the officer on the street.”

According to appeals filed by motorists cited for violating New Canaan’s parking rules, enforcement officers often say on the street that they cannot retract a ticket once it’s printed. 

Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said that the officers already give motorists an opportunity to move or urge a driver to correct the violation prior to issuing a ticket. “They will tell somebody to please move,” Miltenberg said. Commissioner Chris Hering said that changing the Bureau’s practice would just expose the department. 

“What we try to do in our role here is to be fair and consistent and I think that we expose ourselves with further leniency,” Hering said.

Divided Commission Voids $25 Ticket for New Canaan Man Who Parked Poorly Downtown

Officials last week voided a $25 ticket issued to a New Canaan man who parked more than 12 inches from the curb on Main Street downtown one morning this summer. Joseph Somma told members of the Parking Commission during an appeal hearing that he’d been making a quick run from the New Canaan Field Club on the morning of June 24 (a Monday) to Baskin-Robbins to pick up ice cream for kids. A resident of New Canaan for 16 years, Somma spotted one parking space in front of the popular ice cream shop, pulled into it with his new truck and “didn’t realize how bad I did park,” he told the Commission during the Sept. 4 hearing, held at Town Hall. “I did park and I broke the rules.

Divided Parking Commission Upholds $30 Ticket for Local Woman Obstructing Two Spaces

Members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting voted 3-2 to uphold a $30 ticket for a New Canaan woman cited for obstructing two spaces in a municipal lot downtown. 

Malia Frame during an appeal hearing before the Commission said she typically backs up her GMC Yukon “a few times before I pull into a space.”

“And then I always check the line on my side but I haven’t been on the opposite side,” Frame said during the hearing, held at Town Hall. “So ever since I got this ticket, I have been checking on the other side and I just realized that I have to be more careful when I straighten up. I’m not saying it didn’t happen—I’m happy to pay the fine. It was just an honest mistake.”

The ticket had been issued at 1:03 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, records show. Seeing a photo of her vehicle for the first time on the night of the hearing, Frame conceded that the Yukon was “ definitely askew.”

“But my problem that day is that I got—I mean I have huge car, I have a Yukon, and it’s every big,” she said.

Commission Votes 3-2 To Recommend Metered Parking on Main and Elm

Saying it didn’t make sense for downtown New Canaan’s best parking spaces to be free, town officials this month voted to recommend installing meters on Main and Elm Streets. The Parking Commission as part of its 3-2 vote at the May 2 meeting also is recommending that the spaces running along the northern edge of Morse Court, which now offer free 15-minute parking, also be metered. “By giving away free parking on the main streets, we create a perverse incentive for people to not use parking in the peripheral lots that are designed to take the load off [Elm and Main Streets],” Commissioner Chris Hering said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Hering voted in favor of the change, along with Commissioners Stuart Stringfellow and Peter Ogilvie (who long advocacy for this idea was recorded in a recent 0684-Radi0 podcast). Chairman Keith Richey and Commissioner Pam Crum voted against the recommendation.