CBJ to create city traffic hearing officer positions

The CBJ parking kiosk near city hall. Parking laws are not changing, just the way fines will be handled.

Juneau parking violators will soon get a “notice of violation” and those who want to appeal will appear before a city hearing officer, not a district court magistrate.

The Assembly Monday night approved an ordinance changing the way the city handles civil fines.  It comes in response to a recent Alaska Supreme Court order that nullified citations not delivered in person.

Violation notices will still be put on the vehicle windshields, but instead of being an infraction sent to district court, the city must set up a traffic court system.

Only Ketchikan and Anchorage have municipal traffic courts.  When the Supreme Court issued its order last month, most other cities were forced to throw out their traffic offense system, according to CBJ attorney John Hartle.

“In Anchorage, they have their own municipal court system and they have municipal judges to hear these things.  In Ketchikan, I understand it’s the manager’s secretary.  So it shows a rather broad continuum; I think we will fall somewhere in between those,” Hartle told the Assembly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            City Manager Kim Kiefer said a hearing officer will initially be located in her office.  She plans to move a current city employee into the position.

“At some point we’re potentially going to set up a traffic court time and we need to determine if that’s two or three hours.  We’re looking at trying to set it up over a lunch hour to make it easy for people to come to it and not have to take off work,” Kiefer said.

The ordinance does not change current parking laws.

The state Supreme Court order that nullified traditional parking tickets was in response to a housekeeping measure approved by the Alaska Legislature in 2010.  Hartle said he hopes the legislature next year will reverse what has been called an unintended consequence.

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