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City issues more than 2,000 tickets for overnight parking since December

Mount Pleasant officials issued 2,202 tickets for violation of the ordinance against parking on streets overnight between Dec. 1 and March 21.

To make it easier for snow plows to clean city streets of snow during the winter, the ordinance requires city streets to be clear of parked vehicles between 2 and 5 a.m. from December to April. The exception to this rule is in the Downtown Central Business District, where parking is restricted between 4 and 6 a.m. year round.

Tickets cost the car owner $15 if they are paid a week after being issued, $30 if paid within two weeks, and $40 if the city has to notify a collection agency.

City Manager Nancy Ridley said she could not easily determine how much revenue was raised by the tickets since they are not categorized by when they were paid. She said all revenue is added to the city's general fund to support city operations.

Ridley said it is important to enforce the ordinance to keep the roads plowed.

"You either have a car that gets plowed in, and then when they do get out, you have a part (of the street) that has more ice," Ridley said.

The ordinance was changed last year to enforce parking restrictions between December and April. Previously the ordinance was effective between September and May, but for the 2014-15 winter season, the city decided to try a shorter program.

"We did a pilot year to see if there was an impact," Ridley said. "The city found the shorter ordinance had no significant effect on its ability to keep the streets clear of snow and ice, and changed the ordinance permanently."

Between Sept. 1, 2013 and May 1, 2014 — the last time the old ordinance was in effect — the city issued 2,128 tickets, less than the number of citations issued this season.

Chloe Foltz, a junior from Livonia who lives on University Street, said the ordinance is enforced too strictly.

"I think it's stupid," she said. "(Parking) should be allowed unless there's snow and they need to plow the roads."

Ridley said, however, that it's important to enforce the ordinance even when the weather is clear.

"What we found is if we don't enforce it when there's no snow, people get used to parking there," she said.

Emily Parker, also a junior from Livonia, said Ridley's reasons made sense, but felt there were alternatives.

"Why wouldn't they just do that and say 'when it snows, you need to move?'" she said.

Lots 1 through 6 can be used with an overnight parking permit. Even numbered lots must be used on even days (Dec. 2, for example) and odd lots can be used on odd days.

The parking rules on campus are enforced between 4 and 6 a.m. for all lots except 3, which is enforced between 2 and 5 a.m.