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City of Denver urges unlicensed parking lots, garages to refund tickets

Parking Revenue Recovery Services adding more cameras, technology
Denver urges unlicensed parking lots, garages to refund tickets
Posted at 9:21 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 23:24:20-04

DENVER — It was no surprise to Jeff Gonzales that downtown parking is at a premium when he parked near the Denver Convention Center for his daughter's cheer competition in February. What did surprise him, though, is the $80 notice in the mail that came weeks later from Parking Revenue Recovery Services. The notice stated that his ticket had expired.

"I just immediately contacted the mayor's office because I just knew that this didn't really add up and make sense," said Gonzales.

When the City of Denver started investigating, it uncovered an entirely different issue.

"All those tickets were torn up," said Eric Escudero with Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses (EXL).

Escudero said the parking lot at 1417 California Street had had an expired business license since 2020. EXL investigators soon discovered that wasn't the only downtown parking lot or garage with an expired license.

"Because that parking garage or lot was not operating legally, they don't have the right to issue a ticket," said Escudero.

Escudero said tickets issued during that time period should be revoked.

John D. Conway, co-founder of Parking Revenue Recovery Services, said his clients' lots are now all licensed, and he blamed the pandemic for the lapse.

"There's been a lot of challenges through COVID and staffing," said Conway. "The Webb building was closed, the City building, for a while, and so processes were slowed down."

But Escudero said EXL has been working the entire pandemic. He encouraged drivers ticketed in unlicensed lots or garages to contact the City via 311 for a possible refund from Parking Revenue Recovery Services. The City has already helped get five tickets thrown out, according to Escudero.

"The last thing people should have to worry about is if they're going to get a ticket that they should not be issued for finding a place to park," he said.

However, Conway stopped short of saying Parking Revenue Recovery Services would be giving refunds for tickets issued from unlicensed lots.

"I think it's a challenging situation by reduced staffing levels, and I think it's an ongoing issue that we're working with both the City and the property owners," said Conway.

While they work on an agreement, it's left to each person ticketed to ask the City to investigate.

Gonzales' ticket was one of the several revoked, and he said he hopes other people get the same relief.

"They found what was wrong and they took care of it," said Gonzales, giving credit to city investigators. "On another level, I'd like to see that taken care of for everybody."

Meanwhile, Parking Revenue Recovery Services said the increase in parking notice complaints could be connected to dozens of cameras the company has added downtown to track parking, similar to toll-road technology.

Conway said the technology "eliminates the human error," and eventually, the company plans to charge for parking subscriptions and move away from parking enforcement.

Until then, though, the number of parking notices will go up.

"As we deploy technology, we start to increase the volumes of the number of notices from people that aren't complying," Conway said. "So, between 12 midnight and 7 a.m., unbelievable. Never would have imagined how many people actually come down and park and don't pay."

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