Fines at YVRA:
The Hayden Town Council approved Sept. 15 increasing parking fines at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. In the past, parking violations ranged between $20 and $40. The new fines are as follows:
• $85 for parking where prohibited/leaving vehicle unattended
• $85 for overtime parking in the 30-minute zone
• $100 for blocking a crosswalk
• $200 for parking in a handicap zone
“I would like to emphasize that we are not out there to write as many tickets as we can. We would prefer not to write any tickets, but in order to get the situation under control, we have to follow federal law.”
— Hayden Police Chief Gordon Booco about increased parking fines at Yampa Valley Regional Airport
The commercial airline season took flight Thursday at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden with travelers experiencing a host of changes compared to years past.
YVRA is in the midst of a renovation that includes construction of new offices, installation of an additional bag belt and the opening of a new restaurant.
But, travelers in violation of parking restrictions at the terminal can also expect stiffer penalties.
Hayden Police Chief Gordon Booco said the Hayden Town Council adopted Sept. 15 a new parking fine structure to curb the number of unattended vehicles in front of YVRA, which has reached “epidemic” proportions in recent years.
“The fines did increase out there because of security with it being federal property, and a lot of people were leaving vehicles unattended in the past,” Booco said. “We’ve written lots and lots of tickets at $20, and even had people ask us what the fine was and just walk off because they preferred to pay the fine rather than obey parking regulations.
“Our fines just didn’t have the teeth they needed to get people to comply.”
Dean Smith, assistant airport manager at YVRA, said since 9/11 the Department of Homeland Security has ruled that no privately owned vehicles can be left unattended within 300 feet of any airport.
“A lot of people think because this is the Yampa Valley Regional Airport that the rules don’t apply when they do,” Smith said. “If the DHS were to catch us not enforcing those rules, they could fine us $27,000.”
In the past, a motorist parking where prohibited or leaving a vehicle unattended would receive a $20 ticket. Parking in excess of 30 minutes in the 30-minute zone also carried a fine of $20.
Today, those penalties are $85.
Fines for parking in a handicapped zone and blocking a crosswalk have also increased, Booco said.
Previously those violations carried a $40 penalty. With the new fines, travelers can expect to dish out $200 and $100 respectively for those violations.
And, Booco said officers at the airport will be able to bundle fines at their discretion. For example, should a motorist leave a vehicle unattended in a handicap-loading zone, a fine of $285 could be assessed.
“But, I’m not going to promote that unless the party is a habitual offender,” Booco said. “I think $200 is enough for one trip.”
Booco said he expects there will be complaints about the new fines, but also contends that the increases are long overdue.
“I did a survey of area airports, including Grand Junction, Eagle, Aspen and several others, and our fines are now comparable with other Colorado airports,” Booco said. “In fact, two of them don’t even issue tickets — they tow immediately.”
Booco hopes people will not take their frustrations with the new fines out on the officers on duty because they are not there to “ruin anyone’s vacation.”
“I would like to emphasize that we are not out there to write as many tickets as we can,” Booco said. “We would prefer not to write any tickets, but in order to get the situation under control we have to follow federal law.”