Town Voids $20 Police-Issued Parking Ticket

Saying there’s not enough evidence to uphold it, members of the Parking Commission voided a $20 ticket issued to a Wilton man who had parked on Locust Avenue on a Friday evening in May. Jaromir Kosar told the Commission during a July 8 appeal hearing that two signs located near each other on the south side of Locust between Forest and Cherry Streets are in conflict, since one says ‘No parking any time’ while the other says ‘Parking 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.’

Police wrongly issued Kosar a ticket at 6:40 p.m. on May 14, he said, because he was parked near the latter sign (which has arrows pointing in both directions) behind two SUVs that blocked his view of the ‘no parking’ sign. Furthermore, Kosar said during the hearing, held via videoconference, there were no street markings in the area where he parked that would’ve indicated to him that it was a no-parking zone. Told that the police officer wouldn’t have ticketed him if he was parked legally, Kosar said, “I’ve got news for you: Police officers are human and they make mistakes. And they made a mistake here.”

When enforcement officers with the New Canaan Parking Bureau ticket vehicles downtown, they capture a photo of the violation.

Town Voids $30 Ticket Issued to River Street Man for Leaving Vehicle in ‘No Parking’ Zone

Despite neighbors’ complaints about traffic and safety problems caused by cars parked on what is already a narrow road, municipal officials last week voided a River Street man’s $30 ticket for leaving his car in a no-parking zone. There have always been no-parking signs at either end of River Street on the west side of the road, according to Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg. However, the signs were far apart and residents mistakenly thought they could park in the middle section of River Street on the west side, she said. When the town installed sidewalks along that side of the street several months ago, public works officials put up temporary no-parking signs that became permanent once the sidewalks were in, she said. The town for many months has received complaints from residents “that it’s been difficult for buses and two cars” to go down River Street with vehicles parked on the side of it, though enforcement has been difficult in the past, Miltenberg said during a regular meeting of the Parking Commission, held July 8 via videoconference.

Parking Commission by 4-1 Vote Recommends Charging for Use of Park Street, Playhouse Lots on Saturdays

Saying it would be more consistent with other municipal lots and would create more revenue for the town, officials are recommending that motorists start being charged for the Saturday use of two lots located behind Elm Street. The Parking Commission at its May 6 meeting voted 4-1 to start charging for the Park Street and Playhouse Lots on Saturdays. “We always try to keep the rules simple, and if we just say ‘parking is free Sunday and you pay on Saturday for all downtown lots’ it’s easier for everyone to remember,” Chair Keith Richey said at the appointed body’s regular meeting, held via videoconference. 

Town officials already charge on Saturday for parking in the Morse Court Lot. Commissioner Peter Ogilvie said the town should have the same policy for Park Street and Playhouse, which are next to each other, as it has for Morse Court. 

Commissioner Drew Magratten agreed, noting that Connecticut and the wider tristate area are on the verge of trying to reopen after more than one year of sweeping restrictions under the pandemic “to get back to some sort of normalcy.”

Consistency is important, Magratten said, “because as you can see from these appeals a lot of people people get confused—different rules [for] different lots.” He referred to ticketed motorists who appeal to the Commission in order to have violation fees forgiven. Richey, Ogilvie, Magratten and Commissioner Jennifer Donovan voted in favor of the recommendation.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Kristen Pace (and Family)

Peter Ogilvie first noticed the activity at Canoe Hill Cemetery in the months after the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year, in driving by it on Laurel Road each day. Perched on a hill off of the east side of Laurel not far from the intersection of Canoe Hill Road, the final resting place of 200-plus New Canaanites—including the town’s (and possibly Connecticut’s) last living slave, Onesimus Comstock—had fallen into disrepair. With little dedicated parking and difficult to access even by foot, given a steep hill and crumbling stone staircase, the .69-acre burial ground was largely covered in weeds and fallen branches, with broken and illegible gravestones scattered about. One day, Ogilvie pulled over to see what was happening in the cemetery, and there met Kristen Pace and her daughters, busy at work. “She took on this project all by herself and in the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of quarantining, and with her daughters out there, did the physical work of cutting down weeds and cleaning up just unbelievable truckloads of crap,” Ogilvie said.