Home Seaside Heights & Seaside Park Government Seaside Heights Officials Wary of Parking Meter Proposal

Seaside Heights Officials Wary of Parking Meter Proposal

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Parking Meters (Credit:  christine592/Flickr)
Parking Meters (Credit: christine592/Flickr)

A bill pending in the New Jersey state legislature has Seaside Heights officials crying foul, saying it could force the borough to add to the local bureaucracy and become less efficient. Meanwhile, a member of the state General Assembly touts his bill as a better way for motorists to fight tickets they receive as a result of faulty parking meters.

The Seaside Heights borough council on Wednesday passed a resolution formally opposing the bill, A-4585, sponsored by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, who represents a portion of western Ocean County as well as portions of Burlington, Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

The bill would allow motorists who believe they received a summons as a result of a faulty parking meter to formally notify the municipal court about the suspected malfunction by checking a box on the ticket summons form. The bill would give court administrative staff the power to compel the municipality or county to test the parking meter to ensure that it is working before the case proceeds. If the meter is found to be faulty, the ticket is dismissed.

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“For Seaside, whenever anyone has a problem with the meter, we have parking enforcement people who will go out and check it, and refund money,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. “It’s really a painless process, and we really don’t need this other process.”

Vaz said the process proposed in the bill would force the borough to train employees in a new testing system prescribed in the legislation.

“It’s beaurocracy that would be imposed on us in Seaside Heights that we’re already doing efficiently,” he said.

The bill does contain language, however, that would exempt a municipality from checking the parking meter if it had already been checked at some point during the prior six months. The streamlined process in the proposal does not preclude motorists from contesting their parking meter tickets the old fashioned way – entering into discovery and bringing the matter to municipal court.

Seaside Heights also feels the bill sets a poor precedent.

“In general, court employees work for the judiciary, so they’re not authorized to order executive branch employees to do anything,” said Vaz.

Dancer said his bill sets a level playing field for motorists.

“There are areas in this state where meters are known to ‘short time’ shoppers, expiring prematurely and making drivers vulnerable to costly parking tickets,” Dancer said in a statement. “Whether the inaccuracies are intentional or accidental, the results are the same. People are being ripped off, and without this law, they have no recourse and end up paying the fines.”

 

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  • Beach N8iv

    Look like Seaside isn’t interested in having it’s cash cow neutered.

  • Peter James Smith

    I lived and worked in Seaside Heights. My first career was in Seaside Heights Borough and I worked in the police department. We had a distinct procedure for people complaining about a broken meter, I was in charge of the paperwork end of things. The meter would be checked and if it was faulty, the ticket would be dismissed no problem whatsoever. There are only a handful of parking meters in Seaside Heights now anyway. Most of our parking is charged at kiosks. You type in your parking space, pay the money, and get a receipt with the time you have to the minute. Parking revenue is important to Seaside Heights, but they are not trying to give people tickets. They want paying customers and a revolving ability to park for others. They can’t allow people to park for free, which is what they are doing when they don’t pay the proper fee. I’ve gotten tickets in Seaside Heights. I was in the wrong, and I paid them. Many people claim the meter was broken, but they are only trying to get out of the ticket. The meters, in my vast experience, were rarely faulty in their timing. Seaside Heights also allows anyone with a handicapped plate or placard to park anywhere for free, anytime. The visitors also have the choice to park in parking lots, where it may be more expensive at times, like holidays, but a solid value at others, $5 for the whole day is better than the charge of the meter/kiosk, which is 25 cents for 10 minutes, I believe that’s the current price from the last time I knew. Seaside Heights also allows free parking from November 1st to April 1st. It’s not greed. Seaside Heights has an influx of visitors that requires many services that have impact on costs. It’s business.

    • disqus_N3292TPQCr

      Peter James Smith, you are a Sleezeside Heights Kool-Aid drinker. They must be paying your undeserved salary with that undeserved fine money. Sleezeside should be paying people to come visit Camden by the sea.

  • Peter James Smith

    Even though there are only a few meters left, and very few in on Ocean Terrace near the boardwalk. There’s something in the bill I disagree with. The meters themselves should be checked indeed, but six months is too long of a time to say whether the meters are working or not. Those old style parking meters break more than that due to weather and coins being stuck and other factors. I think the bill should be more like once a month. Problems with the meter heads on poles are the reason that the Borough went with the kiosks, which were readily accepted by the public, and this problem is less than it used to be. The vast majority of the broken meter complaints were legitimate, at least that was my experience when I was employed by the Borough. I’ve never heard of the Borough not making it right if the meter was inoperable, and they gave many of the people the benefit of the doubt. Very few people had to go to the municipal court level. Sometimes Seaside Heights is blamed for parking tickets and things they thought were unfair, but the meters were actually in Seaside Park. Seaside Park seems to have a far more aggressive stance in how they enforce their meters than the Heights does. Could the parking situation in Seaside Heights be better? That question is revisited every year, and things are tweaked or changed and it’s a tricky thing in such a mixed-use community.