Council lowers parking fines: Proposed $140 increase reduced to $50 instead

The fine Greenwood drivers pay when ticketed for parking illegally isn’t going up as much as initially proposed.

Last week, a Greenwood City Council member proposed raising the fine that drivers would pay if they left their vehicle in a spot they weren’t allowed to use. The proposal called for the fine to increase from $15 to $140, to better deter drivers from parking illegally and to cover the city’s costs in enforcing parking rules. About 400 parking tickets have been issued since the start of 2014.

The issue of whether the current fine was enough to serve as a deterrent came up as residents in a Greenwood neighborhood requested assistance dealing with parking problems. The homeowners’ association for the Summerfield neighborhood had asked that parking be restricted to just one side of the streets in the 327-home neighborhood south of Worthsville Road and west of U.S. 31.

Police Chief John Laut told the council that if they wanted tickets to be effective, the cost needed to be significantly higher than $15.

Council President Mike Campbell said that he favored an increase and proposed a $50 fine.

The council voted 8-0 to lower the proposed increase from $140 to $50. Council member Brent Corey, who had proposed the initial change to $140, was absent.

The council still will need to vote twice on whether to approve the increase to $50.

City judge Lew Gregory told the council that for the majority of offenders, one ticket is enough to get them to correct their behavior. For repeat offenders, finding a price that is high enough to serve as a deterrent is more challenging, he said.

The council put off voting on whether to put in place parking restrictions in the Summerfield neighborhoods until the next meeting. Council members said they wanted a chance for residents to be able to provide input on the decision. The association had mailed out postcards with details of the proposed changes to residents a couple of days prior to the meeting.

While the homeowners group has rules in place to restrict parking to one side of the street, it lacks the ability to enforce them, said Darlene Phillips, the association’s secretary.

When drivers park on both sides of the street, it creates challenges for mail delivery, garbage pickup, snow plowing and access for emergency vehicles, Phillips said.

Safety also is a concern, especially at intersections, where drivers might not be able to see children when too many cars are left on the street, she said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.