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Motorist appeals parking ticket to City Hall — and wins

Raymond Stone appeals to the City Council to void a parking ticket. Raymond Stone appeals to the City Council to void a parking ticket.

Raymond Stone says a false assurance from city parking ambassador led to a $25 parking ticket at a city lot. He wanted the city to tear up the ticket. The city agreed.


An aggrieved Stone told his story to the Hendersonville City Council on Thursday night.
On Aug. 15, he and his wife drove into town for a luncheon and presentation at Renzo’s. The invitation said complimentary parking would be provided. He turned into the parking lot, where “an attendant was on duty.”
“I told him it was my understanding we had complimentary parking,” he said. The attendant, a city parking ambassador, said he knew nothing about it. Stone said: “Is it OK to leave my car there or should I move it? He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it. You go on to your meeting.’”
When Stone returned to his car after the meeting “there was a piece of paper on my windshield.” It was a $25 parking ticket. “I was stunned.” He looked for the parking ambassador to find out what happened. “He had vanished. We rode around the parking lot and did not see hair or hide of him.”
When Stone got home he called the phone number printed on ticket. Someone called back. “The lady with whom I talked said, ‘No excuses, you have to pay this $25 citation,’” he said.
He asked how much the parking cost. A dollar fifty, she said. He wrote a note explaining what happened, stuck $1.50 in an envelope and sent it to the city. It didn’t work.
“I got a note in the mail last Thursday demanding that I pay $25 or the ticket would be doubled,” he said. “I feel like I was misled, that I was unfairly treated. I have given 67 years of service to the people of North Carolina at the county, state and federal level. I have never tried to evade a responsibility. I just felt like it was reprehensible when I got that ticket. So I come before you asking the council to rescind the citation.”
Mayor Barbara Volk told Stone the council could not act on his request on the spot. City Manager John Connet noted that Capt. Bruce Simonds was in the council chambers. Since Simonds would handle a parking ticket appeal, Connet asked him to meet with Stone.
“Mr. Stone has been taken care of,” Simonds said Monday. “That citation has been voided. I think there was a miscommunication between him and the (parking) ambassador. I made it crystal clear to him that there is no complimentary parking for restaurants.”
Simonds said the confusion may have arisen because Renzo’s provides valet parking, which would be free.