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East Palestine moves to revise parking fine

EAST PALESTINE — The cost for parking violations in the village could be increased by a few dollars if council continues with new legislation to update the fines.

Last week council gave a first reading to an ordinance that would set fines at $10 if paid within the first 72 hours after being ticketed. Fines would be $20 after that if paid within 30 days and $50 if paid after 30 days.

Village Manager Mark McTrustry said the fines haven’t been updated in a while.

“It has been about eight or nine years since the police have been able to update their cost of parking fines. The police chief just wants to be able to review it,” he said.

Currently, fines are at $7.50.

In other matters, council also gave a first reading to legislation that would amend current legislation regarding vacant structures that was originally passed by council in 2020.

McTrustry explained that the amended legislation provides a more detailed explanation of the rights of the village with regards to recovering the cost of unpaid fees.

“The ordinance changed so that the village attorney can basically go to court to cover the fees. So if somebody doesn’t register, if somebody is late (making payment), or if they don’t follow the corrective action plan … instead of trying to put that on a property tax assessment, we can do that or we can go to civil court,” he said.

He said the reason the law is being changed now is because there was some question about whether or not the village was able to take the matter to civil court under the prior legislation.

“This amendment clears up that language and specifies what we are allowed to do under Ohio Law or not,” he said.

He added that the existing law will remain relatively the same.

The vacant structure law was put into place by past council following discussions about how to attract new residents and businesses.

The law outlines what is considered a vacant building in the village and a corrective plan in order to keep buildings from remaining vacant for long periods of time, so as not to attract unwanted or illegal habitation and dangerous or unhealthy conditions.

The law also outlines maintenance standards and establishes registration fees, in addition to violations and compliance.

Also during the meeting council approved an ordinance as an emergency regarding the dedication of land for the Park Drive Bridge Project.

The bridge project is being undertaken by the Ohio Department of Transportation, with construction expected to begin next year.

McTrustry explained that the land must be dedicated near the bridge because there is currently no right of way and the bridge that is going to be constructed is slightly bigger than the bridge that is currently there.

The bridge is targeted for replacement by ODOT because it is outdated, although it is not deemed dangerous for travel.

Council also approved a resolution during the meeting that outlines the need for and scope of the project and provides the formal go ahead from the village for the state to commence with the project.

The next meeting is set for Aug. 22.

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