Xenia to decriminalize parking violations, extend hours

Xenia officials are bringing in the new year with new parking regulations for the downtown area.

A new ordinance goes into effect in January that decriminalizes parking violations and extends from two to three hours in the city parking lots and on-street parking.

The move is in response to concerns raised by the small businesses that are popping up along Main Street, according to a city release.

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People who visit and park in the downtown area have said “more time for free parking would be optimal,” according to City Manager Brent Merriman.

“In order to take that under consideration, it was prudent for us to also look at our parking regulations comprehensively,” Merriman said. “We reviewed and amended many rules, regulations, and fees associated with violations to afford more accountability overall.”

The new ordinance spells out a civil process to challenge parking violations and creates the Parking Violations Bureau, which will be housed in the same building as the police station and municipal court building on North Detroit Street.

Those who receive a parking ticket will have 30 days to pay the $20 fine or choose one of two other options.

Parking violators can deny the citation and request a hearing in writing to challenge it, or they can admit the violation but request in writing a waiver or reduction in the fine, according to the city.

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Waivers or reductions may be granted for a few reasons, including if the vehicle was temporarily disabled; the parking meter was defective; or the vehicle was parked because of a medical emergency.

Parking fines can still be paid in-person at the city’s utility department, 107 E. Main Street.

An additional $20 fine will be assessed to violators who don’t answer a citation after the first 30 days, and a $25 fine will be assessed to violators if it remains unpaid for another 30 days.

The baristas at Courthouse Café say a lot of people don’t know where the free parking lots are. And extending parking hours is a welcome change.

“You have like 10 businesses here, and like 12 spots,” said barista Carson Penick, who added that more public parking lots are needed.

Barista Ella Young said it’s difficult to avoid getting a parking ticket during the week, when parking rules are enforced. She said she received one ticket during a four-hour shift and had to pay the $20 fine.

“No matter where you go, they’re all two-hour parking. So it’s like you’re here for work, and there’s like two spots, but if there’s more than two people here … you have to go move your car every two hours or you’ll get a ticket,” Young said.

More information about the new ordinance can be found on the city's website, eXploreXenia.com.

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