Photo by Scott Franz
A sign outside Yampa Valley Regional Airport marks a no parking area. The Hayden Town Council will consider raising parking fines next month.
Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Regional Airport Manager Dave Ruppel wants Hayden’s Town Council to increase the fines for people who park illegally along the curb in front of this airport’s terminal building.
Ruppel said Thursday that the $20 parking tickets being handed to drivers who disregard several no parking signs and an audible warning not to park their cars at the curb is too low.
“It’s unfortunate we have to try and do this,” Ruppel said. “We’re always going to have some folks who think convenience is more important than the law.”
The Hayden Police Department issued about 160 tickets to drivers for leaving their cars unattended at the airport curb during the terminal’s busy season from October to April. Ruppel said a fine increase could help bring more drivers into compliance with a federal law that doesn’t allow cars to be parked within 300 feet of the building for security reasons.
“There is no question that with the signs and the audible warning people are given there is no reason people should think it’s OK to park there,” he said.
At a meeting Thursday night, Hayden Police Chief Gordon Booco presented the council with the results of a survey of parking ticket fines at six other airports that serve mountain resort communities in Colorado. The survey shows that Hayden charges less than its counterparts.
Airports in Eagle and Montrose don’t issue tickets, but instead tow cars immediately. Grand Junction’s airport charges $85 for illegally parked vehicles.
Booco said he’s heard from drivers who say they would rather be issued a ticket and pay the $20 fine than park in the short-term or long-term parking lots at the airport. He said they haven’t yet towed anyone parked at the curb.
“They don’t seem to think the fine is a big deal,” Booco said.
Town Manager David Torgler said the fine increase would help the airport bring more people into compliance with federal guidelines.
“The big issue for us is public safety, and that’s the bottom line,” he said.
Torgler would like to see the fines increased to somewhere between $50 and $100.
The Town Council will discuss whether to raise the fines at its Aug. 4 meeting.
At Thursday’s meeting, the council voted to name Financial Director Lisa Dowling as Hayden’s interim town clerk. Former clerk Susan Irvine left the Yampa Valley last week to serve as the deputy city clerk in Sedona, Ariz.
The council also approved the parade route for the Routt County Fair on Aug. 20. The parade will run from Third to Pine streets along Jefferson Avenue.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com