The ticket for blocking a hydrant or parking in a restricted neighborhood in Glenwood South is $30.
Soon, it could cost $200.
“I have heard a lot of concerns about the parking, and I think this increase will hopefully truly detract people from going to those neighborhoods, so I am in support,” City Council member Jane Harrison said during a budget work session Monday.
The council voted 7-1 to raise the citation fee to $200 for parking safety violations and parking in neighborhoods with a residential permit zone in and near Glenwood South. Having an expired meter or parking in a loading zone won’t see the same significant increase.
The new fee will apply from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day in the area of Glenwood South bordered by Saint Mary’s, West, Peace and Hillsborough streets, as well as a portion of neighborhoods in a residential permit zone north and west of Glenwood South.
(The News & Observer asked the city late Monday when the new fee starts and how many safety violations have been reported this year and will update this story when we receive the information.)
Nearly 5,000 traffic citations were issued in the Glenwood South area from July 1 through February, according to a March presentation to the City Council.
More than 1,000 of those citations were in areas where only residents may park.
First lady Kristin Cooper weighs in
The debate over the nightlight district has grown more intense in recent months.
Neighbors have become more frustrated with noise, parking and traffic. In April, North Carolina first lady Kristin Cooper questioned the area’s “vibrancy” on a neighborhood listserv after a man tried to kick-in the door of her and Gov. Roy Cooper’s home in Forest Park.
Neighbors shared more than seven pages of Forest Park listserv emails from 10 days in April and May detailing smashed car windows, broken side mirrors, toppled street signs and noise complaints.
A new report funded by the Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative estimates the district generates $1.2 billion in resident and visitor spending. The group commissioned the report to counter the “negative publicity” the district has recently received, The News & Observer recently reported.
“It felt like we were getting picked on,” said Larry Miller, the group’s president. “We wanted to present a better image. If you talk to the vast majority of people that live here, they think it’s a great neighborhood.”
The idea of raising the parking ticket fees surfaced in March. The fees shouldn’t be comparable to the cost of parking in a garage for a night, Council member Stormie Forte said then.
“I’m just looking at some ways to really grab folks’ attention,” she said. “I understood you to say that there are not a lot of repeat violators. But I think if you’re paying a $500 fine or your car is getting towed, the word will get out whether you’re a one-time offender or not.”