Carol Arnott won a hard-fought battle over a Wilmington parking ticket.
On Friday morning, the ticket was dismissed in Justice of the Peace court in Wilmington.
Arnott, a well-known Wilmington-area real estate agent, was issued a parking ticket in February of 2018. She appealed and after a lengthy delay was offered the option of taking the case to the Justice of the Peace Court.
Arnott contended that the ticket was issued despite the fact that the enforcement officer should have determined that the meter was broken.
She appealed the decision and waited for notification that came months later.
Arnott’s situation made its way to local media with Wilmington-based AAA Mid-Atlantic also takng up the cause. This week, the city took note of the opening of a customer service operation that will handle ticket questions.
The city indicated, among other things, it will make other reforms to the system that tows away cars with the operator not always notifying the owner of the sale. It will also provide verification of the violation through an image on a ticket.
In Chicago and other cities, parking systems that sell-off vehicles have been viewed by some as part of an effort to exploit poor residents.
The city also plans to move to kiosks, rather than aging parking meters that some claim swallowed up change without recording time.
AAA spokesman Kent Grant had long been an advocate for reforms in the city and had chronicled parking enforcement problems that have long been viewed as a drawback in small businesses staying in the city.
More than a few visitors to local restaurants and entertainment attractions have vowed not to return after receiving tickets under questionable circumstances. One business went so far as to offer discounts to customers who received parking tickets.
Also noted were examples of lax parking enforcement in some parts of the city, such as the key route along Maryland Avenue on the west side.
Grant learned along the way that the parking appeals process was something of a mystery with little or no enabling legislation regarding its authority. Critics claim the process was designed to discourage appeals.
No one is expecting any major changes in the fine system that includes a $40 ticket, one of the highest figures in the region. Parking fines remain a significant source of revenue for the city