Town Upholds $25 Ticket Issued to Man Who Had No Money To Pay for Parking


Town officials last week upheld a $25 ticket that had been issued to a motorist who didn’t pay for his parking space in the Park Street Lot.

Lucia Pinho told members of the Parking Commission at their Sept. 9 meeting that her son didn’t take his own car to a dentist appointment in New Canaan because it was in the shop.

Instead, he took his parents car and there was no money in it to feed the parking machine, Pinho said in appearing during an appeal hearing, held via videoconference.

“He was rushing as normal to go to his dentist appointment that we tried to fit in before he went back to college,” she said. “And I think in all the—he knew he was late, he was running and it wasn’t his car, it was our car, and so I’m sure he had change or money somewhere in his car but he had our car and he was so concerned about getting to the dentist on time that he just parked and ran in. So that’s really what happened. We’ve never gotten a ticket before. We’ve always paid for our parking. So and again it wasn’t myself or my husband, it was him. He’s at school right now. So I’m sort of cleaning on his behalf. And it is our car. That’s the long and the short of it.”

After brief deliberations, the Parking Commission voted unanimously to uphold the ticket. 

“Was this the one where he showed up late and he didn’t have any money?” Commissioner Peter Ogilvie said during deliberations.

“I thought that was pretty cut and dry,” he added. 

Commissioners voting at the meeting included Chair Keith Richey and members Ogilvie, Laura Budd, Jennifer Donovan and Drew Magratten.

During the hearing, Richey asked just where Pinho’s son had parked.

“Normally he would park right on Park Street, in front of the dentist office,” she said. “But he probably just by habit just said I’m going to pull in to—he didn’t look to see or maybe at the time because it was probably his appointment was at 2 o’clock or so and he was running late so I don’t know what time it was probably maybe 10 past two or something like that and he just pulled into that lot right next to the Park Street building and ran in.”

Richey told Pinho, “You recognize that’s not really any kind of defense at all.”

Budd said that meters in municipal lots such as Park Street have a pay-by-phone app and that motorists also can pay by credit card.

Pinho said her son doesn’t have a credit card, though the mobile app “would have made it easy because these kids live and die by their phones.”

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