Downtown parking fine increases Jan. 1


Beginning in 2021, anyone caught using on-street parking spots in downtown Seymour for more than two hours at a time will be issued a $10 parking ticket.

The city council approved the fine increase with a 6-1 vote during a meeting earlier this week. Councilman Seth Davidson cast the only dissenting vote.

Currently, the fine is $3 if paid the day the ticket is issued or $5 if paid after that. Some downtown business owners have complained the fine isn’t enough to deter people from taking up customer parking.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Davidson said he doesn’t support using fines to solve problems, but if the city wants to increase the amount, he believes it needs to be more than $10.

“I feel like a $3 to $10 jump doesn’t do much to deter,” he said.

Councilman Bret Cunningham said the fine increase is to reinforce that on-street parking is temporary.

“We really want people that are going to be spending some time downtown to focus on our parking lots,” he said.

Davidson also is concerned that by increasing fees, the city is punishing people who live downtown.

“We currently have no system in place to allow for on-street parking for downtown residents, and I feel bad for those folks,” he said.

The ordinance does open up the existing public parking lots to 24-hour free parking, but any vehicle parked without moving for 72 hours will be considered abandoned.

“Right now, with our current parking structure, those lots close at a certain time,” said Councilman Chad Hubbard, who chairs the retail development committee.

Davidson believes those who violate the ordinance will continue to do so no matter what the fine is.

“They will do as they do now and just move parking spots after their tires have been marked,” he said.

Some of the offenders are business owners themselves, he said.

“We have a few business owners who like to park on the street near their shop, which takes away spots for their customers, which I just really don’t understand,” he said.

Before the increase takes effect Jan. 1, the Seymour Chamber of Commerce and Seymour Main Street are working together to make everyone aware of other parking options in the downtown.

Through their new POP (Plenty of Parking) campaign, the two organizations plan to combat the public perception issue that there isn’t enough parking downtown and help identify free downtown parking lots.

There are currently eight public parking lots and more than 400 parking spaces downtown.

“We have looked into adding some banners downtown,” said Bri Roll, executive director of Seymour Main Street. “Based on the feedback we received in the public forum in July, a lot of people said our existing signage is too small.”

They plan to put up 18 larger colored banners, eight of which will identify with a parking sign and parking lot.

“Those will be in addition to the existing parking lot signs to just make them a little bit larger and attention-grabbing,” she said.

The other 10 will be directional signs to point motorists to the nearest parking lot, she said.

“For those folks from out of town, they don’t know where those lots are, so this helps direct them there,” said Dan Robison, president of the chamber.

Robison is spearheading the marketing piece to raise awareness of parking. The chamber has posted its first POP Downtown video on Facebook.

“We’ll be doing more videos and other marketing to help change the perception and help educate the public,” he said. “It’s a format that retailers can use, as well, along with their marketing to let folks know there is available parking downtown.”

He recommended the city look at some way to allow for people who live downtown to park downtown without getting ticketed.

“That’s a piece of this that could probably use some creativity,” he said.

Cunningham agreed the city should find ways to encourage downtown living.

Davidson doesn’t know if the increased fee will be good or bad for downtown businesses.

“We have a perception problem that there isn’t parking, but there is plenty of parking,” he said. “With Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce rolling out their POP initiative, I would like to see how that works first before acting with a raised fine.”{/div}{/div}

No posts to display