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Anger Simmers Over Parking Issues

Restaurateur Andreas Gavrielidis has strong feelings about the Norwalk Parking Authority . "It's a scam," he said, using tickets to illustrate his point.

Gavrielidis, whose family owns restaurants Harbor Lights , East Side Café , Overton's and Rouge , says overaggressive enforcement is bad for business. "That's why nobody comes to South Norwalk," he said.

Enforcement officers aren't waiting two hours before issuing a second ticket, Gavrielidis said, and he has the paperwork to prove it. On Aug. 17, his employee Karol Florez was issued a parking ticket at 6:43 p.m. on North Main Street. At 8:03 p.m., the same officer wrote another ticket.

Gavrielidis said Florez paid a ticket in person at the Maritime Garage and wasn't told she had additional tickets. She found out when a boot was put on her car; she paid $400 to free it.

According to minutes of the Norwalk Parking Authority, 90 boots have been installed on vehicles since July 1. The authority meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Maritime Garage Customer Service Office, 11 N. Water St.

Anger over parking issues struck a recent informal gathering of the public with Common Council members.

"You're not the only person with that story," said Council Member Richard Bonenfant, who said his daughter paid for two hours of parking only to get a ticket after 90 minutes. Bonenfant called the number on the ticket and waited half an hour to speak to someone.

"He said, 'What town are you calling from?' So this is just nothing but a clearinghouse for several towns. When I told him what happened and I gave him the number, he said, 'I can't help you.'"

The Parking Authority is separate from city government, but council member Andrew Conroy said the city has recourse. "We can dissolve it," Conroy said. "We can dissolve any authority in this town."

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