Ever get the urge the punish the lazy self-centered minor-league sociopaths who feel their own convenience trumps the accessibility problems of neighbors in wheelchairs? Yeah, the able-bodied and sometimes obviously athletic types who go skipping off to some all-important shopping binge or office visit after parking their fat shiny cars in spaces clearly set aside for the handicapped with signs and that unmistakable baby-blue paint?
Well, next Wednesday’s a chance a stick it to ’em — a bit, anyway.
A town meeting will consider raising the fines for handicapped parking violations from $86 to $150, the new maximum allowed for the offense under state statutes.
Voters will also be asked to increase the fines for parking in fire zones. Now there’s an intelligent move! Yes, fire zones are often empty. They’re for fire trucks. So firemen can get their equipment where they need it, and put out fires. Got something more important going on?
The fire lane fines would be hiked from $50 to $92 — again, the new maximum allowed by the state.
There is no proposal, it’s worth noting, to increase the $15 fines for people who simply overstay the posted limits in regular parking spaces.
Parking Authority Chairman Matt Hicks, who presented the fine increases to the selectmen, has a collection of outrageous parking violator stories. A classic is the lady who took a handicapped space and, when challenged, explained it was the only place she could park and leave her dog in the shade.
The town meeting will also consider an ordinance change to accommodates the merger of the regional planning group the town is a member of, the 10-town Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials, with the neighboring Southwestern Regional Planning Agency, an eight-town group that includes Wilton. Ridgefielders may find no compelling reason to join the two and create an 18-town Western Connecticut Council of Governments. But the state is pushing the idea all around Connecticut — insisting on it, really, and threatening to withhold funding for various projects if towns don’t go along — so voters should go along, after approving the parking fine increases.
The town meeting and accompanying public hearings are next Wednesday, July 23, starting at 7:30 in town hall.
Show up, vote yes, and enjoy sticking it to the solipsistic bozos who park where they have no right to.