Saying that the disabled space in the Starbucks lot is misplaced and poorly marked, officials this month voided a $150 ticket issued to a woman who’d parked there.
The Parking Commission during its Jan. 3 meeting voted 4-0 to void the ticket that Ashley Gonzalez received on Nov. 6 (a Monday).
Gonzalez told members of the appointed body that she pulled into the lot in a panic because her mother fainted in the passenger seat.
“She … was not feeling well, so I ran into Starbucks and got her a water,” Gonzalez told the Commission during her appeal hearing, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.
“I know that there’s no excuse for me parking in a handicapped,” she said. “There’s no excuse. No one should violate that for parking in a handicapped, so I do take full responsibility for that. But it’s just a little bit too expensive for me for $150.”
During their deliberations, commissioners found fault with the layout of the notoriously busy and tight Starbucks parking lot at Elm and Park Streets.
Regarding placement of the disabled space, Commissioner Marley Thackray noted that it doesn’t make sense because a person using it “would be walking across traffic to get to the door.”
Commissioner Nancy Bemis added that there’s no room in the Starbucks disabled space to get a wheelchair out of a vehicle. She called for private parking lots to use the same criteria as the town does in locating and designating disabled spaces.
Commissioner Drew Magratten said that should include putting blue paint on the pavement in addition to posting a sign.
“Send the ticket to Howard Schultz,” Magratten said, referring to the CEO of Starbucks.
Thackray, Bemis, Magratten and Commissioner Kevin Karl voted to void the ticket. The Commission rarely voids tickets issued to motorists who park in disabled spaces.
During the hearing, Karl asked whether the town is responsible for ticketing in a private lot. Parking Manager Stacey Miltenberg said yes for violations in disabled spaces, which are governed by state statute.