City of Kingston towing, impounding vehicles of ‘habitual parking offenders’

Photo by Tori Stafford/Kingstonist.

Over the past few weeks, some Kingston residents may have been surprised by the disappearance of their vehicle from where they had last parked it, as the City of Kingston has worked to cut down on the number of outstanding parking tickets and illegal parking incidents by enforcing its “habitual parking offender” (HPO) policy. The City of Kingston has confirmed that, in the last half of August, 2023, it towed and impounded nearly two dozen vehicles owned by those “habitual parking offenders”.

According to the City’s policy, a “habitual parking offender” is a vehicle owner with over 10 outstanding (unpaid) parking tickets.

“According to Enforcement, in the last two weeks over 20 vehicles have been towed” for violating the Habitual Parking Offender Policy, the City of Kingston said in a statement following Kingstonist inquiries on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.

In this by-law, which is Number 2010-128 and called “A By-Law To Regulate Parking,” Section 9.6, states that “if a vehicle is parked or left in contravention of this by-law, the City may cause the vehicle to be removed or impounded or to be restrained and immobilized at the owner’s expense, and all costs and charges for removing, care and storage of the vehicle shall be a lien upon the vehicle, which may be enforced in the manner provided by the Repair and Storage Liens Act.”

The policy has been in place “for a long time,” according to the City, and allows the City’s Bylaw Enforcement to tow those vehicles without further notice to the owners if they are found parked illegally (either on or off-street) again. “Advance notice is not required if the conditions of the policy are met,” the City said.

According to the policy, Habitual Parking Offenders (HPO) are not required to pay the outstanding parking violations to have their vehicle released from the storage pound, but they will have to pay the established towing and storage fees prior to the release of their vehicle.

The City also makes some exceptions to the policy when it comes to vehicles owned by those with mobility issues. “If the vehicle associated with the HPO displays an Accessible Parking Permit, they will be excluded from towing under this program,” the City explained.

The City recommends that individuals with outstanding parking violations should pay them “as soon as possible”, and note that there is approximately a 30-day reconciliation window for the Ministry of Transportation to reconcile their data with the City regarding payment of tickets sent to “Plate Denial.” 

“HPOs should be advised to park carefully and observe compliance, especially after clearing up any fines in plate denial,” the City said.

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