Harrisburg tows, tickets cars in way of tree removal

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The warning signs were posted, but several Harrisburg residents still woke up to a bad morning when several vehicles along Green Street were ticketed and towed for a tree removal many didn't see coming.

Tow trucks hooked up and hauled off several vehicles, while the owners of others received a
green envelope with a $14.00 parking ticket.

“I'm shocked,” said Alexandra Hensel, one of a dozen people ticketed on Green Street between Harris and Hamilton. “I'm going to protest. It probably won't do me any good and I'll have to pay my $14.”

City workers cleared the street so tree removal crews could chop down a large tree wedged between two homes due to the winds of Hurricane Sandy.

As the sound of industrial mulchers echoed in the streets, what really grinded at people was the short notice. Robert Southard, who has off-street parking and avoided a ticket, said he watched as city workers put up warnings Thursday afternoon, but others said by the time they came home from work it was too late to see the signs.

“I didn't notice them,” said Jessie Moody. “When I came home, I went straight into the house.”

Southard also watched as people came out of their homes and realized their cars were either ticketed or gone.

“People got the price of the ticket that they got, plus the price of towing. That's going to be one hefty bill that they gotta pay,” he said.

Harrisburg police said that while a parking ticket is $14, a towing fee can run about $65 to $75 and storage fees can be about $35 a day, plus there's a vehicle pickup fee of $5.

When she learned the total can go as high as $129, Hensel reacted, “That's just wrong.”

Police said the city does not have a warning policy for this sort of thing. They are working with individuals on a case-by-case basis.

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