Tickets the work of a grinch, recipient says

On Balboa Island, narrow streets and houses built side by side can create parking challenges even before holiday visitors descend.

But street sweeping, and the parking enforcement that comes with it, continued largely uninterrupted throughout the holiday season — much to the chagrin of at least one resident who received a $54 parking ticket just after 9 a.m. the day after Christmas.

Street sweeping operations occur in Newport Beach every weekday except specific holidays, including Christmas Day, New Year's Day and the days before each, as outlined on the city's website.

Still, on Dec. 26, Peggy Burgeson was surprised to see a Newport Beach Police Department officer tucking tickets under the windshield wipers of cars along Agate Avenue, where she and her husband rented a home for the winter.

"It's the day after Christmas," she said Monday. "Nobody's expecting it."

Burgeson's husband, looking out the window while talking on the phone, spotted the officer first. One of their cars had been ticketed, but he ran outside in time to move the second vehicle, Burgeson said.

He next went to warn a nearby neighbor, knocking on her door until she awoke.

Others were not so lucky. At least 10 cars on Agate received tickets Thursday, according to an email from Burgeson, who also sent pictures of a ticket, the cars along the street and the officer at work.

The punishment felt like "a slap in the face," she said, because Balboa Island residents had been patient as the island filled with visitors in December.

Some wanted to see the decorated homes. Others came for the boat parade. When Christmas Day finally arrived, still more pulled over the bridge to visit family and, apparently, to receive tickets.

"Why would the city do that?" she asked.

Keeping up with the sweeping is important not only to keep the streets clean but also to improve water quality, said Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.

The city's policies for holiday scheduling have not changed recently, she added.

Burgeson plans to send a letter to the city documenting what happened and contesting the tickets on the street.

The street sweeper couldn't get down the street anyway, she noted.

Too many cars — their owners perhaps still sleeping off their holiday meals — remained in the way.

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