Kent to get tough on winter parking

(Original publication: October 10, 2005)

KENT ­ To the list of life's certainties, add having your car towed if it's parked on the street in Kent during a snowstorm.

That message is being sent to the town's approximately 14,470 residents. It's an effort to enforce an ordinance that has long been on the books, but one that was mostly overlooked to make life easier for both the Highway Department and car owners.

Like other municipalities, Kent prohibits parking on public roads from Nov. 15 until April 15 to make plowing easier.

Plow drivers, though, who used to cut a path around a parked car, no longer will do that. They will be instructed to call the police to have a parked vehicle ticketed and towed. They will avoid clearing the road until the car is removed. The new adherence to the policy is the result of a Town Court decision during the summer that deemed the Highway Department responsible for damage to a car parked on Arbor Court.

"If it's an iffy situation, we have no choice but to have it towed," Kent Highway Superintendent Anthony Caravetta said.

The renewed commitment means that residents who don't put their cars in a driveway could face a bill of several hundred dollars as a result of ticket, towing and storage charges.

On William Road, which is cut into a hill that rises between Lake Carmel and Horsepound Road, homeowners have driveways that look like tiny ski slopes. The tilted entrances on the west side lead from the road down to their homes and, even on a warm October day, evoke thoughts of wintertime driving woes.

"For us, it's not really a big deal," said Eileen D'Anna, who has lived with her steep driveway for 14 years. "My husband has a plow. I don't go out when it snows until he cleans the driveway."

D'Anna said her neighbor parks up on the road when snow is predicted. She added that the town's new approach seemed unfair, but she said she understood its position.

The renewed interest in enforcing the no-parking-during-the-winter law stems from an incident Feb. 25, when a Kent highway worker struck a car parked on Arbor Court while backing up his truck. The driver reported the incident to his dispatcher, according to court paperwork, and the police were notified about the damage. The car belonged to John Weafer of Ressique Street and was parked by his son, who was visiting a friend.

Weafer, who represented himself, sought damages from the town in court. Patrick J. McGinley, a White Plains lawyer hired by the town's insurance carrier, argued Kent shouldn't be held responsible because parking wasn't allowed during the winter, and courts have classified trucks with snowplows as emergency equipment with the right of way.

Town Justice Joseph Esposito, though, found Kent negligent because Weafer's car was not moving and in July awarded $970 to the Ressique Street resident. Weafer didn't respond to telephone messages last week about the matter.

Supervisor William Tulipane said cars parked on the road in the winter now will be towed with "no questions asked." Residents, he said, looking to avoid getting stuck in their steep driveways, no longer will have the option of the road.

"We will now be compelled to grant no latitude during snow conditions when plowing," Tulipane said. "(Plow) drivers will pass by the road and call for a ticket and tow."

Back on William Road, Lisa Brosinski said she and her husband manage to weather the storms without getting stuck at the bottom of their sloping driveway.

"We both have trucks. If we have to put a car up there," she said, gesturing up at the road, "we park on the grass."

Kent's parking restrictions

• Parking of any vehicle on the travel portion of any public street or highway within the town of Kent is hereby prohibited from Nov. 15 through April 15 of each year.

• Any vehicle parked in violation of the above rule shall be subject to being removed and the owner or operator of said vehicle shall, before redeeming said vehicle, pay to the tow-truck operator the fee for the removal and storage of said vehicle.

• If found guilty, the owner faces a $50 fine for a first conviction and a $100 fine for subsequent convictions. The penalty portion also includes jail time, up to 10 days for the second conviction.


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Monday, October 10, 2005