Princeton residents with occasional overnight guests will still be able to have their guest park on streets overnight if they call the police, officials said tonight.
After police announced last week that overnight parking prohibitions would be enforced in Princeton until the old ordinances for Princeton Borough and Princeton Township are “harmonized”, there was a backlash from residents, who complained that the enforcement of overnight parking restrictions penalizes owners of smaller homes who don’t have driveways or have small driveways.
But tonight officials claimed that there has been a misunderstanding. Councilwoman Heather Howard asked a representative from the police department to clarify the town’s new enforcement policy for overnight parking.
“There has been confusion over whether this is a new policy or a more uniform enforcement of an existing policy,” Howard said.
“We actually don’t have a new policy,” Lt. Robert Currier said. “We are kind of going off the old Borough policy for the Borough streets. We recently noticed that the permissions for overnight parking were becoming more and more numerous. Some nights there were over 40 requests a night. It was a lot for communications officers to keep up with. And it diminishes the number of permit holders that actually go out and get a permit. Chief Sutter decided the policy could get tightened up a bit. He put out the word that a change could be coming, and to put out a notice about a grace period so residents could prepare, because there might be some different things that happen. I don’t think he has an exact plan yet.”
Currier said the plan is a work in progress.
“It does not mean I can’t call up though right?” Howard asked. “I can call and say I have a guest tonight. I can still do that a couple times a year right?”
“Absolutely,” Currier said, adding that some people abuse the system by calling every single night.
“It is a situation where some people have a small driveway and two or three cars. That is what I understood,” Currier said. “In fairness to permit holders we are trying to stop that. It doesn’t mean people can’t call when they have an out-of-town visitor.”
Howard said the town will monitor the situation. “It is not a drastic change of policy,” she said. “Relatives can park when visiting, or if you have a rental car, once a year.”
A police spokesman announced last week that police would be phasing in a new standard for overnight parking. Permission to park overnight would not be granted on any street where overnight parking is prohibited, except in emergencies. Police said there would be a grace period over the next month in which permissions would be curbed in order to allow residents to find alternatives such as off-street parking or permits. Police said last week that overnight parking exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the police department shift commander “in the event of an emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.”