Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Beach approves program for first-time parking violators

ST. PETE BEACH — This city wants tourists to know they are appreciated — and is willing to forgive parking ticket fines to prove it.

When visitors get their first parking ticket, all they will have to do is prove they purchased at least $30 worth of goods or spent an equivalent amount at a restaurant and the ticket will be torn up.

Officials are hoping the public relations move will encourage visitors to shop at local stores and eat and drink at local restaurants.

There are a few caveats, of course — the amnesty program applies only to a single ticket issued for a parking meter or pay station violation.

The ticket must be the first issued by the city to a particular motorist.

Any subsequent tickets will have to be paid in full. If a parking ticket is paid within 15 days, the fine is $30. After 15 days, that fine rises to $45.

Also, the amnesty program does not apply to other kinds of parking violations on city streets.

The idea was originally proposed by Commissioner Greg Premer after a visiting relative had a parking ticket issued in St. Petersburg's downtown forgiven.

That city has had an amnesty program since 2010 and is working quite well, according to interim St. Pete Beach City Manager Elaine Edmunds. Officials said nearly 3,000 tickets were forgiven there last year.

The parking ticket amnesty program in St. Pete Beach, approved unanimously by the City Commission on Tuesday, will be designed after St. Petersburg's program and is expected to start this month, according to Dan O'Connor, administrative services supervisor for the city's parking division.

"It does promote good will, especially for the people from smaller towns where $30 is a pretty heavy parking ticket. This program will take that bad taste out of their mouths," O'Connor said.

He said he plans to have vouchers printed that will accompany every parking ticket issued. The voucher would have to be taken to City Hall with qualifying local retail or restaurant receipts before the ticket would be voided.

Visitors who have already left the city will be able to present their receipts by email or fax, O'Connor said.

O'Connor said that so far this year, the city has generated about $76,000 in parking fines. Less than half (about $20,000) result from parking meter violations.

"In St. Petersburg, the reception to the parking ticket amnesty program was so positive," O'Connor said. "It is an easy program to implement and if it is utilized, we will keep it long-term."

At least one city business owner, John Michaels, hopes the city will broaden the program to include tickets given to people parking illegally on unmetered side streets.

"People are constantly complaining that there is no place to park in the city," Michaels said. "We keep telling people we love you, we love you, but when we get them here we nickel-and-dime them to death."

Mayor Maria Lowe responded that the city would want the program operating first before considering any expansion.

St. Pete Beach approves program for first-time parking violators 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Those wide-open, end-to-end, shoot-at-will games are a lot of fun to watch, especially when those shots are going in the net. But if the players had their druthers, they would rather have a more controlled pace, one with which they can dictate the action.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  4. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  5. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.