Bill Bryant of Arvada told the Dillon Town Council Tuesday night that he used to enjoy coming to Dillon for the farmers market, restaurants and scenery.
But not anymore.
“The reason is your overzealous police department,” Bryant said.
In July Bryant was at the farmers market in Dillon and left his Jeep Wrangler parked near the intersection of Lake Dillon Drive and Buffalo Street. He returned to his car to find a $50 ticket on the windshield, citing a violation of parking “within 30 feet of a traffic signal or sign.”
Bryant decided to fight the citation, not because of the money, but because of the principle. He said there was a post near the intersection he interpreted to signify the boundary between legal and illegal parking.
“It was a completely bogus ticket,” Bryant said. “I thought, and I think most reasonable people would take that post to mean, ‘You can’t park here, back up.’”
Bryant backed his car behind the post and was shocked to find he had received a ticket when he returned to his Jeep. He aired his case before Municipal Court Judge David Helmer at Silverthorne Town Hall — the town of Dillon has an agreement with the town of Silverthorne, which serves as the venue for its traffic cases — and during the course of conducting his research Bryant discovered all of Dillon’s traffic codes could be argued as invalid.
The basis of his argument came down to a technicality in the wording of Dillon’s traffic code, which was adopted in 2010 when the Colorado Department of Transportation amended its code.
Prior to 2010, the Colorado Model Traffic Code and its fines were indexed under two articles — Article 1 and Article 2. When the state updated its traffic code in 2010, it struck the word “article” and indexed its rules and fines into “parts.” But when Dillon adopted its new code after the Colorado Model Traffic Code in 2010, it did so by article.
On Wednesday Helmer ruled that Dillon’s adoption of the state’s traffic code by article, and not by part, was enough to dismiss the charges.
Although Bryant was unaware of what the judge’s ruling would be Wednesday, he told the Dillon Town Council Tuesday night that regardless of the outcome, the town of Dillon had a bigger issue — several “outlined” parking spaces in town violate Dillon’s and Colorado’s 30-foot parking restriction. He provided the council with a photograph of an outlined parking spot in the town core that is in clear violation of the law.
When asked by Councilmember Erik Jacobsen if he cites drivers who park in that particular spot, interim Dillon Police Chief Brian Brady simply responded, “Yes.”
However, the Dillon Town Council addressed the technicality Tuesday by passing a resolution on second reading to have Articles 1 and 2 stricken from the Dillon Model Traffic Code. In addition, Brady said public works employees were in town Wednesday to remove temporary paint at the town core space Bryant referenced during Tuesday’s meeting.
“During the barbecue fest we do use temporary paint to add parking spaces to accommodate the crowds, we just never got to removing that one in the town core,” Brady said. “Warnings have been issued at that spot, we have not issued any citations, but now it is being corrected.”
Although Bryant believes drivers could call into question similar tickets they’ve received in Dillon, town manager Joe Wray said Bryant’s dismissal was purely a technicality.
“The changes are more symbolic in nature than anything else,” Wray told the council Tuesday. “It has no bearing on how the laws are enforced by the police department and how they are interpreted by the courts.”
“During the barbecue fest we do use temporary paint to add parking spaces to accommodate the crowds, we just never got to removing that one in the town core.”
Interim Dillon police chief