The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an ordinance making it a crime for residents to sell their neighborhood parking permits.
Permits are required on some city streets to help residents park near their homes. But some people have been selling their permits to make extra money, particularly during the State Fair when street parking is in high demand.
“Some people were selling them like four times a day during the fair,” said City Council President Amy Brendmoen. “Residential parking permits are for residents; that is the intention. They are not meant to be a revenue generator.”
Anybody caught selling their parking permit would be slapped with a misdemeanor and would not be able to get another permit for a year.
A permit is considered sold if it is “exchanged for money or other goods,” the ordinance reads.
Residents in neighborhoods where permits are required pay $25 per vehicle. Residents can buy additional permits for $25 that guests can use for short-term visits. The city also sells one-day hang tags for $3. Residents can buy up to 20 one-day tags per month.
And residents near the State Fair were taking advantage of the opportunity to sell their permits to fairgoers looking for a place to park, said Michael Kuchta, executive director of the Como Community Council District 10.
“The State Fair does not have enough on-site parking, shuttle services to lots to handle the increased popularity of the fair,” he said. “It’s simply the law of supply and demand.”
During the 12 days of the fair, Kuchta said more and more fairgoers were parking on streets as far as a mile away, bringing more traffic to the area west of Como Regional Park. Kuchta said the District 10 Council had been working for a few years to enforce parking regulations and crack down on those who parked too close to corners and fire hydrants and blocked crosswalks. That is when it learned people were selling their permits to people who didn’t live there.
“They saw it as an opportunity and took advantage,” he said. But “it goes against the spirit of the intent.”
The ordinance is enacted citywide and also cover other neighborhoods with parking challenges, including streets around the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University.
Brendmoen said there has not been much pushback against the ordinance. Nobody spoke at a public hearing last week, and there was no discussion at the meeting on Wednesday.
The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.