Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for July 23, 2024





Mammoth Lakes PD Wants to Up the Ante on Parking Violations

Mammoth Lakes Police Department presented its solution to the on-going issue of bad parking habits by both locals and visitors: make it hurt.

Some people simply use the current $45 fee for parking violations as the cost to park, explained Interim Police Chief Dan Casabian at last week’s Town Council meeting. With a few exceptions, $45 currently covers most parking violations. The exceptions are $330 for parking in a handicapped zone without the appropriate stickers, $110 for obstructing snow removal and $75 for parking at a fire hydrant or in a fire lane. Those fines will escalate to $410, $220 and $150 respectively. 

The traditional $45 fines will jump to $110. Casabian proposed a November 1 start date on the fine increases, providing enough time to let people know how seriously the Department will be taking violations. He told the Council the Department of Motor Vehicles is the higher authority on vehicular issues, including parking. If the violations are approved, Casabian said the plan included starting with warnings before the increased fee hammer falls.

Apparently, folks have come up with creative ways to get around current parking restrictions. Casabian mentioned leaving the engine running with an occupant in the car, a technique used by people who explain they just needed to run into a store to pick up something. There are currently no vehicle codes that give the picker-uppers a pass to park illegally.

Also under consideration: parking passes for locals. Casabian cited locals who move their vehicles to the street to clear their driveways.

Towing illegally parked vehicles hasn’t been very effective, Casabian explained, since the Town only has one tow vehicle. On a busy ski weekend, that lone vehicle could be hauling illegally parked vehicles all day long and still not make much of a dent. 

Council members were generally in support of the increases, as long as the Police Department mounted a strong public information effort to guarantee locals are sufficiently fore warned. 

The agenda item was information only and will be back on a future agenda for a vote.

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