Accumulate three parking tickets in Port Chester, and authorities can tow your car if you haven't paid up.
A new proposal would take a tougher stance — accumulate three tickets from any vehicle in your name and police can tow all of your cars.
The proposed law is designed to give local authorities the tools to go after serial scofflaws, drivers who accumulate parking tickets on multiple cars, or drivers who game the system by switching plates with the DMV before they're prevented from renewing their registration.
Trustee Sam Terenzi doesn't see a new tool to crack down on serial scofflaws. He sees the potential for parental misery.
"Trust me," Terenzi said, "I have a daughter who doesn't really care if she gets tickets or not, because the car's in my name. I've had my license revoked in Yonkers because she had tickets I never knew about. So when [angry parents] start coming up to the podium, Mr. Mayor, you deal with them."
But Mayor Dennis Pilla, it turns out, doesn't like the proposal for the same reasons.
"Picture you're the dad and you have two kids with three cars in your name," the mayor said. "If you had one ticket on each car, we could tow all three of your cars."
Despite expressing reservations, Port Chester's trustees voted to go ahead with a public hearing on the tougher ticket proposal. That hearing is scheduled for the board's next meeting, on March 19. Elected leaders want to hear from the public and gauge whether residents think the proposal is a good idea.
While such a law could have unintended consequences, Trustee Bart Didden said he thinks the potential payoff is worth it. Didden cited a recent case in Port Chester traffic court — a driver accumulated more than $8,000 in parking tickets with several different vehicles.
"Going through the records, we have found people who systematically drop license plates after getting three, four, five tickets," Didden said. Before the Department of Motor Vehicles flags those drivers and prevents them from renewing their vehicle registration, Didden said, "they put on a new plate and they just start over again."
One other community in the state has a similar law, and that law prompted a discussion among some Port Chester police officers, Village Attorney Tony Ceretto said. While the proposal would make life easier for patrol and traffic officers, police Chief Joseph Krzeminski is not a supporter.
"Do I like the idea? No, to be honest with you, I don't," the chief said. "I think it goes too far."
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