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'Chain parking' violators will get $100 ticket

Parking Enforcement Officer Melinda Lohre writes a ticket on downtown Bay Street. - Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo
Parking Enforcement Officer Melinda Lohre writes a ticket on downtown Bay Street.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo

A new parking ordinance is meant to end the practice of “chain parking” in downtown Port Orchard, fining cars that only move a short distance when the two-hour limit has expired.

“I think it’s unfortunate that we have to legislate good behavior,” said City Councilman Fred Chang at Tuesday night’s council meeting. “But some people insist on being poor neighbors.”

Those affected by the ordinance are not doing anything illegal. They park in a time-restricted zone but move the car slightly before the time has expired.

In doing so, they are within the letter of the law.

Objections to this process have originated from some local merchants, who complain that certain cars are parked in front of their places of business for the entire day, occupying the spaces most convenient to the downtown business.

Police Chief Alan Townsend presented two versions of the plan to the council, with different boundaries.

The option chosen is bordered by Harrison Street and Sidney Parkway (near Kitsap Bank), Prospect Street and the waterfront.

Cars are allowed to park within this boundary for two hours, after which they must park outside the limits.

The parking enforcement officer will chalk each car and ticket the violators.

Tickets will cost $100, five times the amount of a standard parking violation.

Any car receiving three in one calendar month will be determined as a “habitual offender.”

These cars will receive a $150 fine for each ticket, in addition to the ticket itself.

Townsend said the ordinance was aimed at just a few violators, who had not responded to repeated warnings.

The department will phase in enforcement of the new ordinance over the next 30 days, with warnings issued instead of tickets during the trial period.

Chang moved for passage of the measure, which was supported by council members John Clauson, Jim Colebank, Fred Olin and Carolyn Powers.

Council members Rob Putaansuu and Jerry Childs voted in opposition, Putaansuu because he felt it should be enforced citywide and Childs favoring taking action after the winter is over.

Olin supports the measure but does not expect behavior will change. “A lot of people insist on being poor neighbors,” he said.

Townsend said that he does not expect the ordinance to generate significant revenue for the city, that it would be “a wash between the fines we collect and what it takes to administer the program.”

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