Steamboat Springs The Hayden Town Council is moving forward with plans to increase parking fines at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. If passed, the ordinance would increase the rate of parking tickets at the airport from $20 to at least $85.
Airport Manager Dave Ruppel told the Town Council on Thursday that increased ticket prices would serve as a deterrent and help the airport comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations that prohibit vehicles from parking within 300 feet of an airport terminal.
“If we make the ticket prices high enough, hopefully we’ll have less people disobeying the rules,” Ruppel said.
Ruppel said he’s talked with drivers who park illegally in front of the terminal and say they would rather pay a $20 fine than park in designated areas. He said drivers ignore no parking signs and a recorded no parking warning that is played in front of the terminal every 30 seconds.
Town Council member Jim Haskins questioned whether the ticket prices set in the ordinance being drafted by Town Manager David Torgler were high enough to solve the airport’s parking problem.
“If you want to make it a deterrent, make (the tickets) $400 to $500, because this is not a deterrent,” he said, referring to the proposed ticket rates.
Haskins said closing the curb in front of the terminal to vehicles would be the most effective option available, but Ruppel responded that it would not be appropriate to bar drivers from picking up and dropping off passengers at the curb, an option he called a valuable component of the airport’s customer service.
The council will hear a first reading of the ordinance at its next meeting.
Also Thursday, council members discussed whether they should modify Hayden’s existing ordinance for snowmobiles to also allow all-terrain vehicles and other off-highway vehicles to operate on town streets.
Torgler said many of the changes in the proposed ordinance would bring Hayden’s rules for snowmobiles and ATVs in line with an existing ordinance in Craig.
But Haskins said he was concerned the ordinance would open the town up to recreational ATV riding.
“There’s a reason why in most places around the country, they don’t allow (ATVs) to be operated on public roads,” he said.
Hayden Police Department Chief Gordon Booco asked Torgler to develop an ATV ordinance because the town has nothing on the books to help regulate where ATVs can operate.
“We stop the kids and tell them they can’t ride them on the streets and to go home,” he said. “We need a way to enforce these laws because they’re going to ride them whether it’s legal or illegal.”
The council advised Torgler to add a registration and insurance requirement for ATVs to the ordinance, which will be up for a first reading at the council’s next meeting.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email ScottFranz@SteamboatToday.com