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Bay Terrace man ticketed for parking in his driveway

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Cars parked in the driveway of Bay Terrace resident Ashley Scharg have been ticketed four times in recent months on the grounds that the cars extend too far into the sidewalk. Now Scharg is fighting the city to have the tickets dismissed."I want the tickets dismissed and I want them to leave us alone," he said.Scharg, who rents the upper level of his home to another family, said his tenant, Frank Byun, was leaving for work early one November morning when he noticed parking tickets on both his and his wife's cars. Scharg said Byun never mentioned anything to him about the tickets, which each cost well over $100, and even paid one of them.It was not until the tenants were ticketed a second time in January that Byun told his landlord."I said, 'What? They're at it again,' " Scharg said.Scharg, who has lived in the house at 23-10 Waters Edge Drive since it was built in the 1970s, said his parents and their neighbors once challenged the city over being ticketed in their driveways.City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said this is a long-standing issue that occurs every so often in Bay Terrace.Even when the houses were built 30 to 40 years ago, the driveways were not large enough to accommodate a car, Avella said, and officers would "routinely go out and issue tickets under the guise that they were blocking the sidewalk."Most cars parked in the driveways of Bay Terrace extend into the sidewalk, but Scharg does not know of any of his neighbors being ticketed."It doesn't seem to be a ticket sweep because all the houses in the neighborhood are in the same boat. It seems to be just one officer," Avella said.In October, in a written statement to Avella, the Police Department's chief of transportation, Michael Scagnelli, said it would be "foolish to issue a summons to a parked vehicle that extended over the sidewalk in a way that was truly negligible" and agreed not to ticket cars that did not pose a real interference to pedestrians on the sidewalk.Avella fears the agreement is being retracted. "There seems to be a change of attitude," he said.In January, Avella contacted Scagnelli on Scharg's behalf, asking that the tickets be reviewed and potentially dismissed.As of press time, Avella had yet to hear back from Scagnelli, who did not respond to requests for a comment.Scharg, however, said he had received a phone call from Scagnelli a couple weeks ago, suggesting he begin to park his black Chevrolet Tahoe in the garage. Scharg rebuffed the idea."Garages built in the 1970s were not meant for a 2000 SUV," Scharg said. "I should be able to park in my own driveway. We can't help the way they built the homes."

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