ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Increased parking fines could be coming to St. Augustine Beach.
City leaders say illegal parking is a big problem. They’ve proposed an ordinance that would triple the fines for people who park where they shouldn’t.
Parking is free in St. Augustine Beach. However, the current fee for illegal parking is $20. Some city leaders say that amount is simply not enough to discourage people from doing it.
The city and police department say people often park where the curb is yellow, or in most cases, they just park where it clearly says they can't.
"On my street, they put up at least 15 more ‘no parking’ signs on Pope Road. Obviously, it's a problem that's not going to get any better," said Jim Dougherty, who lives in St. Augustine Beach.
City leaders are trying to solve the problem by considering an ordinance which would raise the fine for illegal parking from $20 to $75. The fine for those who park illegally in a disabled parking spot would be $250.
So far this year, St. Augustine Beach police have issued 44 tickets for illegal parking. The idea is to get people to realize the city is serious about parking.
A lot of the folks, like Valeria Smith who live in the area, agree this needs fixing.
“It's frustrating. Especially if they block you off at the entrance ways to peoples' businesses and homes. Yes, it's a problem," said Smith.
But Smith isn't sold on the proposed change.
"I don't think that people should really have to pay a high fine. They should just understand, respect the parking," said Smith.
Under the ordinance, violators have up to 30 days to pay the city once they’re fined for illegal parking. If the fine isn’t paid, the case would be moved over to the St. Johns County clerk of court, who would then assign a court date.
With more people headed to the beach during the summer months, city leaders expect the number of drivers parking illegally to increase. That's why they want people to pay attention.
The proposed ordinance is getting support from the commission, the city manager's office said. They're expected to come together next month to further discuss the ordinance.