Students who try lots off campus run the risk of tickets, towing

Natalie Pillsbury

Parking Services attendant Corey Stoffer, freshman accounting major, puts a $15 ticket under a windshield wiper of a vehicle parked in the wrong lot near the tennis courts.

Credit: Steve Schirra

You’re late for class, it’s raining and you don’t feel like walking from your apartment. You decide to park in the FedEx Kinko’s parking lot off campus.

Perhaps you should have considered whether parking illegally is worth the inconvenience and cost of having your car towed.

Don’t be surprised if your car isn’t where you left it even after being parked in a business parking lot even for a short time.

“Our basic policy is to tow for unauthorized parking,” said Terry Sample, manager at FedEx Kinko’s on Main Street. “The amount (of illegally-parked students) goes up and down.”

The worst problems with students parking in the FedEx Kinko’s parking lot occur during the fall and spring semesters, according to Sample.

Local businesses and property owners post signs prohibiting unauthorized parking and warn of towing as a consequence.

“The most common violation is either parking in an area where a sign prohibits it or only allows two-hour parking,” said Bill Lillich, public safety director for the city of Kent.

Violations such as these, which are the most minor, result in a $15 fine that raises to $25 if not paid within 10 days. If the ticket goes unpaid for 30 days, the fine is raised to $50, Lillich said.

Displaying an expired license, parking in a fire lane or parking in front of a fire hydrant are examples of second-tier violations. Fines for these violations start at $40, rise to $50 after 10 days and to $80 after 30 days.

The highest level of violation is parking in a handicapped-designated area. The fine is $250, and it doesn’t increase.

Lillich said that even after an unpaid ticket has reached the highest penalty level, the amount can go up if you are ticketed for another violation.

If you have three or four unpaid tickets and are found in violation again, your car will be towed, Lillich said.

“Your car will be impounded and you won’t be able to get it out until all the tickets and towing fees are paid,” he said.

Some more unusual examples of parking violations include parking in front yards, on tree lawns and blocking sidewalks, Lillich said.

“We are protective of the sidewalk because of the high pedestrian traffic and because of children and the elderly,” he said.

This violation falls under the second tier of violations and results in a $40 fine.

Parking on private property such as local businesses or apartment complexes will not result in a fine, but your car will be towed.

Lillich said that the private property owners have a contract with a towing company, and these violations are not regulated by the city.

The towing company will often contact the Kent City Police when a vehicle is towed from private property. This prevents the vehicle owner from reporting the vehicle stolen.

If your car is towed, you can contact the police or get the name of the towing company affiliated with the private property owner from the signs posted on the property.

“We don’t enjoy writing tickets,” Lillich said. “The more information people have, the more likely they will be to comply.”

Contact general assignment reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].