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Great Neck Plaza Addresses Ticket Issue

(Editor’s Note: The Great Neck Record received telephone calls and letters in response to an outcry from the public regarding specific parking summonses issued in the Village of Great Neck Plaza. The Record asked Plaza Mayor Jean Clender to respond.)

When the Village of Great Neck Plaza code enforcement officers write parking summonses, the ticket is placed on the windshield of the vehicle. It is the responsibility of the driver to contact the justice court and either pay the summons or challenge it in court. As our computer system only initially knows the license plate and not the name and address of the registered owner, we rely on the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to supply us with the registered owner’s information of the vehicle.

When a summons is not answered by the returnable court date that is indicated on the summons, it begins to accrue late penalties and reaches the maximum fine in six months. The court historically sends out letters when a summons has not been responded to by the returnable court date. While there is no obligation by law to notify defendants of the outstanding summons, we try our best to send letters as soon as possible to notify defendants that the summons is past due.

Because of the DMV’s computer system in place during several years, the village did not receive the necessary registered owner information for certain summonses. Multiple times we submitted the plate information to the DMV over the past years since these summonses were issued and we were never supplied the owner’s information. After a change in the DMV system was installed, the village was finally able to access this information only within the past several months. As soon as these names became accessible, those owners were notified. In November 2009, the village justice court mailed out notices to numerous defendants that had previously received summonses and failed to answer the summonses. When they came to court, the judge adjudicated the tickets in a fair and reasonable manner. This is the only time the Village of Great Neck Plaza has had such an occurrence. The manner in which DMV exchanged registered owner information with the court at the time that these unanswered summonses were issued is no longer in use. The system currently in place is significantly more efficient and the court does not expect that this would ever happen again.