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Public safety

Parking enforcement on Christmas Eve troubles some Auburn-area drivers

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Parking ticket

Some folks celebrating Christmas Eve in Auburn said they felt their holiday cheer dampened a bit by parking tickets from the city.

A city parking enforcement officer issued tickets Thursday night to the dismay of some individuals visiting their families and friends ahead of Friday's formal holiday.

City Manager Doug Selby said Christmas Eve — like other business days — was subject to active parking enforcement, such as residential alternate-side parking regulations. Alternate-side parking has been historically enforced as a method of keeping streets clear for larger vehicles like public safety rigs, snow plows and garbage haulers.

The same rules will apply this Thursday, New Year's Eve. Selby said parking regulations have been enforced, when applicable, on Christmas Eve in Auburn for as long as he has been with the city.

"That's the city code," he said. "It's the law, and if we want to change the law, that's something we would have to take to the city council."

Auburn native Frank Petrosino, however, said he has never seen anyone ticketed on Christmas Eve until Thursday.

This includes the 25 years he and his family have celebrated it at a relative's house on Paul Street, he said. Petrosino said he he saw a parking enforcement officer ticketing vehicles on Paul Street some time after 8 p.m.

Earlier that evening, Fleming man Frank Sciortno said he parked on North Park to celebrate 4 p.m. Mass with his relatives at Holy Family Catholic Church.

After the service and about an hour's stay at a relative's house on North Park, Sciortno said he saw the parking enforcement officer handing out tickets. Sciortno's vehicle was among those ticketed.

"I knew I was at fault, but you figure it's Christmas Eve, you wouldn't think they would give you a ticket like that," Sciortno said. "The weather was nice. No snow. It was a beautiful evening."

Both he and Petrosino said they do not think the city should enforce on Christmas Eve, believing that the occasion is seen by many as a holiday.

"You could go by someone's house and see that there are numerous cars out front and know that they're with their families for the get-togethers," Petrosino said.

The city manager said his office did not receive any complaints about the Christmas Eve parking enforcement. 

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

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