Misprinted parking signs and comments from an unidentified Greensburg police officer drew Saybrook Village residents from Cranston Drive to city council’s meeting Tuesday night with questions about how a new parking ordinance will be enforced.
Council passed the ordinance in May after receiving a petition from residents who said cars parked on the street were impeding snow removal.
Signs were erected on Cranston Drive, but there was a typo. The signs said parking was prohibited from Nov. 1 through the end of March, while the city ordinance said regulation would begin Dec. 1.
When November arrived, some cars remained on the street, while others were parked elsewhere.
A city police officer was called to the street to enforce the law as printed on the signs. He told those parked on the street to move, but did not issue any tickets, according to city police Chief Walter Lyons.
Many of the cars returned to the street within a few hours, said Jackie Lucchetti, a Cranston Drive resident who spoke on behalf of several others who joined her at Tuesday’s meeting.
When she brought the problem up with the officer, he informed her that the ordinance did not actually go into effect until December.
According to Lucchetti, the officer then told her that he would have been reluctant to issue tickets even if the ordinance were in effect. He said it would be up to the chief to determine how strictly the parking regulations would be enforced.
The signs have since been corrected with the proper dates, but Lucchetti said the officer’s comments have her worried police will not bother to ticket offenders once December arrives.
“Is that going to be enforced?” she asked. “It’s just confusing for the people who live on Cranston Drive.”
Neither Lucchetti nor representatives from the police department disclosed the name of the officer.
“It throws me off, because I like this officer,” Lucchetti said.
“Apparently, he doesn’t like us,” retorted Mayor Ronald Silvis, who was taken aback that an officer was seemingly hesitant to enforce a city ordinance.
City police Captain Chad Zucco, who was in attendance at the meeting, said he would discuss the matter with the officer.
“If a sign is there, we’ll be ticketing cars,” he said. “I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to the officer.”
However, Lyons said the officer was performing his duty properly. Lyons was not at Tuesday’s meeting, but commented Wednesday.
Policemen are able to use their discretion when ticketing, he said.
“The enforcement of Cranston Avenue is enforced pretty much like any other city ordinance or state law. At the time of the call, based on the parking violation, the officer has discretionary power,” he said.
The purpose of the law, he said, is to keep cars off the street during snowfall. Cars will be ticketed when it is snowing, but when the weather is clear it is up to the officer, he said.
“It was abundantly clear that council’s intent for the ordinance was for snow removal. So if, during that time frame, if during the whole month of December there isn’t any snow, then we might use some discretionary power,” he said.
Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or [email protected].