ALSIP, Ill. (CBS) — Who can forget the feet of snow we saw this winter?
More than 200 people in the Village of Alsip can’t, because they were ticketed for parking on snow routes.
CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra spoke to one woman who fought her fine – but said it fell on deaf ears.
“I found the ticket in the snow on my car,” said Shellie Lewis.
Lewis has a souvenir from our late January snow that served as an education on her community – and it cost her $50.
She was parked right on her block in Alsip, where there are no signs about snow routes. But the ticket was for parking on a secondary route.
So she came to the village hall to fight it.
“The person holding court explains to us that every street in the city is a secondary snow route,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t need signage, it’s on the website and we’re all in violation.”
Through open records requests, CBS 2 obtained audio from Lewis’ hearing on Feb. 17. It documents Village Administrative Hearing Officer Felicia Frazier speaking.
“It’s important for people to understand that there’s no way for a municipality to post signs for every violation that a resident or someone passing through town can be liable for,” Frazier said at the hearing.
The Snow Parking Ordinance is on the village website, but clearly, Lewis wasn’t the only one who didn’t know it. We found she was one of 259 people with hearings that day for snow parking violations.
Fraizer found every one of them liable.
“To step before me and say that you weren’t aware of it is not a valid defense,” Frazier said at Lewis’ hearing.
Lewis also questioned her plea being heard by an administrative hearing officer.
“Are you working for the city and also finding all these cases in favor of the city?” Lewis said.
The village’s attorney said, “The hearing officer is legally required to act as an unbiased arbiter.”
Still, Lewis disagrees with that – just as the officer disagreed with why she shouldn’t have gotten the ticket.
“It’s just punitive,” Lewis said. “I found it very punitive.”
Alsip’s attorney said anyone unhappy with the outcome of their hearing with the Village, can appeal it in Cook County Circuit Court.
There was no word late Wednesday on whether any of the 259 people from that February hearing plan to do so.