Lately I have received some questions regarding parking violations and enforcement in Chestnuthill Township. Here are some questions and answers regarding this topic:
Q: Does Chestnuthill Township have ordinances regarding parking in Fire Lanes and Disability Parking?
A: Yes. The Fire Lane Parking Ordinance is found at: http://ecode360.com/12189587 And the Disability Parking Ordinance is found at: http://ecode360.com/31052826
Q: Does Chestnuthill Township have authority to enforce these parking regulations on private property such as stores and business parking lots?
A: Yes, as part of the approval process for stores and businesses operating in the township, and by virtue that although private property, these businesses are used by and open to the public, the Township has the authority to enforce the ordinances.
Q. Who is authorized to issue tickets for parking violations?
A. The Township has about a half dozen people authorized to issue tickets including paid zoning and code enforcement employees and also unpaid fire chiefs and fire marshal as well as Constables.
Q. Do the State Police also issue tickets for violations?
A. The State Police can issue tickets for violations, however, they will issue tickets for the state laws regarding these offenses. Although the Chestnuthill Township ordinances are consistent with the state laws for these offenses, the State Police are not required to enforce local ordinances.
Q. What are the fines for violations?
A. For parking in a Fire Lane, the fine for first offenders is $100.00. For Disability Parking the fine for first offenders is $50.00. Subsequent offenses may incur higher fines.
Q. Is this just a scheme to make money for the Township?
A. No, actually the policy for issuing tickets is that if the vehicle can be moved promptly at a Parking Officer’s request, no ticket is to be issued. However, if there is no occupant in the vehicle or a driver refuses to move upon request, a ticket will be issued. But issuing a ticket is always the last resort.
Q. I have seen officers take photos of illegally parked cars; why is this done?
A. Photos of the offending vehicle including license plate are taken in case a ticket is contested. The photo is used as evidence of the violation if a case goes to court. It is also used to do a look-up of the plate to determine ownership of the vehicle.
Q. Do all tickets go to court?
A. No. The ticket issued is a municipal ticket. Violators have 15 days to either pay the fine or plead NOT GUILTY. Not guilty pleas result in a court hearing being scheduled and the violator pleads their case to the District Judge. It is important to note that if found guilty by the judge, court costs are added to the original fine. And although tickets are considered traffic offenses, they are not moving violations, therefore no points are assessed against a violator’s license.
Q. I got a ticket for parking in a disabled parking space but I have a disabled parking permit. I just forgot to display my placard. What can I do?
A. Parking enforcement officers will look for disabled parking plates or permit placards. If they do not see them prominently displayed, they will look through windows of the vehicle to see if they can see a placard. If they do not see a placard, they will issue a ticket. If you receive a ticket but have a valid disabled parking permit, simply bring proof of the permit along with the ticket to the Chestnuthill Municipal building and the ticket will be voided. You will not need to plead NOT GUILTY or go to court. Please be aware that the township has the ability to check disabled parking permits to make sure they are valid and issued to you. Please don’t bring a neighbor’s permit or a disabled relative’s permit because we will be able to see that it does not belong to you. As stated before, the Township is not looking to make money from enforcement and if a ticket is issued in error, it will be rectified.
Q. I have a valid disabled parking permit. If all the disabled parking spots are full, can I park in a Fire Lane?
A. No, while businesses are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to have a certain number of disabled parking spaces based upon the anticipated customer demand, there will be times when all the spaces will be full. This does not mean that disabled persons can park in Fire Lanes. However, we understand that this may create a hardship for disabled persons. Therefore, disabled persons may be DROPPED OFF in a Fire Lane, BUT THE VEHICLE MUST BE MOVED as soon as the disabled person has gotten out of the vehicle and is safely on the sidewalk. Likewise, a disabled person may be picked up in the Fire Lane. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY A DRIVER WAIT FOR THE DISABLED PERSON IN THE FIRE LANE.
I understand that if you have received a ticket for violating parking regulations, you’re probably not a happy camper. However, please understand that these ordinances were adopted to comply with the requirements of the ADA and to provide for the safety of citizens as well as firefighters responding to emergencies.