OWATONNA (WCCO) — In this season of so little snow, folks in one Minnesota town are wondering why the parking tickets piled up.

In Owatonna, 471 drivers got slapped with a ticket and fine for parking illegally during winter parking restrictions. Other Minnesota cities only use them during snow emergencies, but this Southern Minnesota city uses parking restrictions all season long.

Police are writing the tickets despite a dusting of snow so far this winter.

“I parked there many, many nights in a row, and always in the same spot,” said Larry Wiuff, who
begrudgingly paid his parking ticket. “I don’t consider it a big crime, what I did or nothing.”

It’s not the $20 fine that has him fuming. It’s why an Owatonna officer gave it to him that gets him going.

“It was really uncalled for this time of year, with the weather conditions the way they are,” Wiuff said.

As city signs point-out, parking rules follow an odd-even schedule from mid-November through March, midnight till noon, no matter the amount of snow.

“It’s to make it easier to plow the street,” said City Council President Les Abraham, who said the ordinance saves the Owatonna resources.

It means the streets will be free of cars the moment plows need to go to work.

“It used to be a point where we had to be towing so many vehicles, that we couldn’t get them towed in time for the street to be plowed, so it slowed up the plowing, increased towing services. More expensive all around,” Abraham said.

Those parking tickets are adding up quickly for Owatonna. The city’s taken in more than $9,400 dollars, which will go to the general fund of the Owatonna Police Department.

Owatonna Police say that they reminded drivers of the ordinance even before they started writing tickets. They say the first week the ordinance was in effect, they put notification cards on car windows. The second week, they only gave warnings to those cars that were in violation.

“I just think it’s very unfair,” said Wiuff.

Wiuff will now choose driveway over street-parking, always remembering the fine he got during a season of little snow.

Comments (60)
  1. Shirley says:

    Owatonna PD……Can’t solve a real crime but they’re good at writing tickets no matter how absurd. By the way..you been drinkin’ tonight?

    1. Debby says:

      Well, the signs WERE up..it should not matter what the conditions are, if there is a posting of do not park, then DO NOT PARK…simple as that!!

      1. h says:

        So it DOES NOT matter if there is snow or not, maybe you should read this article from the Owatonna People’s Press.


        Pretty clear on what is expected of residents. Stop complaining! If people don’t want to abide by ordinances or laws then there are consequences that you will have to deal with, not my issue.

        1. Real Talk says:

          Obviously it doesnt matter if there is no snow. Otherwise this article wouldnt exist would it there Genius??

          My point is it should. If you had 10 brains cells strung together with some scotch tape you could have figured that out.

          Pretty clear what my arguement was. Stop stating the obvious. If people don’t want to use their brain and think for themselves, then there are consequences that you will have to deal with, not my issue.

  2. djp says:

    Well, the signs WERE up..it should not matter what the conditions are, if there is a posting of do not park, then DO NOT PARK…simple as that!!

  3. Al says:

    Mr. Wiuff would be the first to complain if his street wasn’t plowed I am sure.

  4. Larry says:

    It’s not about having the cars off the street for plowing.
    It’s about money

    1. SAN says:

      It’s about obeying the laws, including posted signs. Pretty simple concept.

      1. Andy says:

        Wow, you frighten me. Because something was posted and is qoute a law, they can hand tickets for no reason? Obviosly to generate more revenue for an already corrupt police dept. So if they put up a sign that said you have to wear pants in the winter when you’re outside and you wore shorts then you should get a ticket? Intelligent philosophy, you must work for government with that kind of logic. A smart man once said an unjust law is no law at all. Hey owatonna stop robbing your peaceful tax paying citizens. If you support Theft like this you’re just an idiot,plain and simple.

        1. GH says:

          It’s not the police departments fault that there is a law that you don’t like. Laws are made by the lawmakers that you voted in!! I just don’t get why people think some laws need to be followed and others can be ignored.
          They are not handing out tickets for no reason, they are handing out tickets because people broke a law!!

          1. Andy says:

            Another moron, the point is the law is unjust and wrong and its your duty disobey those kind of laws. Can you imagine if everybody had you’re mentality about laws? Nothing would change. You are saying that if a “lawmaker” makes even the most ridiculous law like this one, you should obey? So let’s say they make a law that you have to wear a jacket in the winter time, and you don,t should you be given a ticket? You’re right about one thing they got Voted in, but if they continue this complete abuse of power they won’t las t long

            1. GH says:

              So if I don’t like a speed limit I can break that law? If I don’t like a no trespassing rule I can break it? What is the limit here Andy? You don’t have to like a law, but you do have to abide by it!
              I’m guessing you have an extensive criminal record 🙂

              1. Real Talk says:

                Yeah well…used to be a law that women or blacks couldnt vote. Morons like you supported it becasue it was “the law”.

                Why dont you try to wake up and think for yourself rather than just reguritate some recycled rhetoric you heard on the news….SHEEP.

            2. SAN says:

              ANDY: The fact that you continue to call people in these posts morons or idiots because they disagree with you does not make you some sort of all-knowing, wise individual. Maybe you’ve heard about respecting others opinions? Everyone, even you and I, are entitled to believe what we want and we don’t have to agree; that is exactly how simple it is. I can respect your opinion and the opinions of others, but leave the name-calling and rude commentary out of this.

        2. h says:

          REALLY! We have the same ordinances in the twin cities, it really is not that hard to figure out what they say. They post the dates and you follow what the sign says. It is not about generating more revenue for the police dept. it is about citizens following a city ordinance that has been in effect for over a decade in Owatonna and throughout MN cities. If you can’t follow it then you deserve to get a ticket. Plain and simple. When you live in a city you should know what your city ordinances are and be ignorant and say oh, I did not know that, it is your responsibility as a citizen of that city to abide by their ordinances.

          1. Andy says:

            Even if the ordinance is unjust? Actually my father in law lives in owatonna and the ordinance has always been if there is 2 inches of snow on the ground then the rules applies. All this is another struggling city trying to generate revenue by making a ridiculous rule and then stealing by ticket. Do you think these moronic city council members had the people who elected them in office best interests in mind when they made this illogical rule? I have lived in the twin cities all my life and the ordinance is not the same as owatonnas this year. Are parking restrictions kick in when there is more than 2 inches of snow on the ground. I think you need to read the ordinance. Nice try though.

            1. h says:

              Blah!!! Just follow the ordinances and stop complaining, If you want to change something then start a petition or run for city council.

              1. Andy says:

                So h, you’re saying the oly way to stop corrupt city officials who enact bogus ordinances is to petition or run for office? That’s genius, you are a steal talk says another sheep, and I will qoute him, have you ever had an independent thought in your life? I bet you rely on others to tell you everything. Grow a brain!

                1. h says:

                  Ok you know you are really out of line. I do have my own brain and maybe you should read the article below SHEEP that was printed in the local paper that clearly explains the ordinance.


                  Yeah maybe you should go and live in another country where you don’t have as much freedom as you do here and see if the pasture is greener SHEEP!

      2. Real Talk says:

        Why were the laws enacted in the first place SAN? To deal with the snow and cars on the street. But guess what…..THERE IS NO SNOW. So how in your tiny mind is the law relevant anymore?

        Again…THERE IS NO SNOW…the ordiance should be rendered moot. Its a non issue. Except to the moronic sheeple out there like SAN. Then the ordiance is relevant because…….why exactly?

  5. Phillip says:

    The government is a pack of wolves feeding off hapless sheep/citizens.

    Minnesota nice is really Minnesota naive.

  6. SAN says:

    It was posted – enough said. Stop signs are posted signs – do you think it’s okay to not stop when there isn’t opposing traffic? Doesn’t matter the situation…the sign says it all – deal with it.

    1. Real Talk says:

      I bet you look up into the sky at night for answes too huh SAN. You dont really want to think or be an active member of society. You want to be told what to do at every turn because its easier and much safer than actually having to think for yourself.

      What i am supposed to do….oh thats right…just read the sign and all your questions will be answered.

      At what point exactly did you lose your will to be an independent, thoughtful contributor to our society and decide to become another sheep in the heard?

  7. Just Sayin says:

    I once got a ticket for parking on a street overnight in Mounds View during July. They use the plowing excuse too year round.

  8. Read and obeys most signs up North says:

    In Minnesota, ya never know when it’s gonna snow, right “Just Sayin?”
    A sign is a sign. If you don’t abide by it, you will get a ticket!
    Not special laws for special people!

  9. Parviz Pouladian says:

    While I agree with the fact that “signs are posted”, same as Stop Signs, but I have to point out the fact that the city could have initiated a “Suspension” of posted signs for ODD/EVEN parking restriction due to lack of snow falls.

  10. Bud says:

    Next, your breathing my air fine

  11. joe says:

    they have odd/even parking in St.Cloud all year long. Something you just gotta get use to. its not just owatonna that has those restrictions

  12. Give me liberty says:

    Typical commentary on the state of our country. People disobey laws, then don’t understand why they are held accountable. This isn’t about whether it has snowed or not. There is a law about parking on the street during the winter. You make a choice to either obey it or not. If you disobey, then if caught you suffer the consequences. But I guess that concept is confusing to some. When we start applying laws unevenly chaos reigns.

    I saw same story on the tv news last night. The person interviewed stated “I guess I will have to start parking in my driveway”. Duh!

  13. em says:

    Eagan has the same rules.

  14. DS says:

    yeah it is frustrating when cops decide to enforce laws on certain days. when i first moved to new brighton, i parked on the street (along with 20 other cars) by my apartment for 3 months, then one night the cops decided to ticket everyone on the street. i called in and asekd and they said it’s a city ordinance that you can’t park on the street overnight. good to know considering there was no sign anywhere close by indicating so. people still continue to park on the street and the cops randomly will ticket every 2-3 months. either ticket it every night or not at all!

  15. Katie says:

    If he has a driveway, why was he parking on the street in the first place?

    Signs were posted, notice was given, warnings were issued – if people continued to violate the posted policy, they deserve the tickets.

    1. h says:

      AMEN! If you have somewhere to park other than the street than park there and stop complaining!!

    2. Real Talk says:

      Ok Kevin.

      I’m going to post signs, give you notice and issue you warnings that i am going to light a pile of dog chit on fire on your front step.

      What…by your logic…that makes it a-ok doesnt boy wonder.

      Grow up and let’em drop already.

  16. Tom says:

    In the cities those signs are only enforced if there is about 2 inches or more of snow on the ground. They don’t go around giving out tickets or make you go to the impound lot of get your car if there is no snow. The city just is just trying to make money. But they should be saving money since there has been very little to plow so far this winter.

  17. northstar64 says:

    There are also cities with no overnight parking anytime – regardless of snowfall, etc. This is to identify abandoned vehicles or other code violations (an apartment building not supplying sufficient spots, someone storing a junker on the street).

  18. T says:

    I want to know who called this story in? Mr. Wuiff? the whinner! This is not even news.

    1. Scott says:

      The local press was begging people to come forward with their story’s That’s why Wiuff did it

  19. jeff jensen says:

    Gotta remember these back woods yokels live in Owotanna

  20. Andy says:

    Why should people follow unjust laws like this one. 1. Why is it a law and 2. Why should people obey unjust laws? So many of you people are mindless sheep heading for the slaughter. So basically with some of your genius philosophies on this website law makers can make any ridiculous law they want, post it on a sign and it has to be obeyed? It’s your duty as citizen to obey just laws, and disobey unjust ones no matter how small. -Martin Luther king

    1. TW says:

      Are you really quoting Dr. King? This story is silly, the parking rule is and has been duly posted so they are well within their operating authority to issue tickets. They should have been glad their taxes are not being spent as much on snow removal and salt this year.

      1. Andy says:

        Idiot read what I said to give me liberty below about dr. King

    2. Give me liberty says:

      I stand corrected. Check with Andy regarding clarification if the law is just or not to determine if you need to follow it. Because banning parking on a city street is on same level as segregation. I guess that is the implication by quoting MLK.

      Think about that for a minute. Comparing what MLK did to a city ordinance about parking over night on a city street. MLK must be rolling over in his grave saying get off my side idiot.

      1. Andy says:

        Wow, i am stupider for reading your posts. If you look again it was merely a qoute to show you not to obey an unjust law or try and get it changed, “no matter how small”. Quoting him had nothing to do with segregation or envokingMLK. The city made a ridiculous unjust law and put on a sign for the sole purpose of generating revenue, and you think that’s ok? You must work for government because you’re a complete idiot. Give me liberty, are you kidding me? You sound like you are the exact opposite of liberty.

        1. Blah Blah says:

          You said it, “stupider” !! You had me laughing with that one.

      2. Real Talk says:

        Shut your mouth liberty.

        It was an example of a leader standing up for what he believed in. Thats all i believe Andy is encouraging. But you blew it up and now made it so he is comparing a city ordiance to civil rights. Nice spin…maybe try Fox News for a job.

        Any moron who actually THINKS about this ordinance yet still supports the absolutely absurd nature of it, especially given there is no room for exceptions…should do the world a favor and reduce the world population by 1.

    3. Blah Blah says:

      Yes, because MLK was talking about parking restrictions… And to answer your question about the laws, yes, they can. If we don’t like those laws, we elect new repesentatives to change them; it is called democracy. BTW, how, exactly, is this law unjust? So, who’s really the “mindless” one. Put down your “Anarchy” books and read up on how our system works.

      1. Andy says:

        Dumb a$$, has nothing to do with anarchy. The law is unjust because it serves no purpose but to generate revenue for the city by making up a ridiculous rule and then stealing by ticket. You think this is democracy? Last time I checked we elect officials to represent us. I would guess when these moronic city council members made this “law” they didn’t have the people who elected them in office best interests in mind. Blah blah you’re an idiot.

  21. Bummed says:

    We had a visitor from out of town that came and stayed the night 40 degrees outside no snow in sight, and they ticked him.
    in the 18 years we have lived here we have never parked on the streets always in the garage and the rules use to be, if snow was imminent then odd even parking prevailed. but this one time and of course we did not even think about it. and he got a ticket ! That same night one of our local schools was broken into, So basically rather than patrolling for thieves they chose to ticket. I feel so much safer now. I also went driving around looking for these signs but most are unreadable as you are driving by. I am sure they run the plates before they ticket I feel they could have given him a warning it takes less time for that.

    1. Andy says:

      They don’t care about the actual criminals committing crimes because they don’t generate any money for the city and the police department. The tax paying working citizens are the ones they need to go after with these bogus rules because we are the ones the can pay the unjust fines.

    2. Max says:

      The officers that are out issuing tickets are not the same officers that are out “patrolling for thieves”. Regardless of the weather, you should obey the law and do what the posted signs say. River Falls has the same rules, whether there is snow or not.

      1. A says:

        I was just going to say this. Usually CSOs are enforcing parking regulations and sworn officers will be the ones “patrolling for thieves.” Or not right Bummed since apparently you know exactly how patrol officers handle all their calls.

  22. llp says:

    Run for office and change the laws nothing is written in stone.

  23. Sam says:

    Streets are marked. The city gave notice, and then gave warning tickets. How is it the city’s fault, or the officers’ fault, that people didn’t pay attention to these things?

    I live in a city that has Novermber-March parking restrictions, and I love it, because it means the streets get plowed starting the moment it snows. There’s no day-long wait for people to shuffle their cars around.

  24. Exp says:

    At least your city’s ordinances are marked. Centerville, MN has a law that says no parking on streets from 2-6am, year round, but there’s NO signs anywhere. You have to learn of it by getting a ticket, as it’s not even readily available on their website.

  25. z says:

    OMG Maybe Andy and Real Talk should run the world since they are so smart and everyone else has no opinion. Make sense to me…thoughts?

    1. Real Talk says:

      No…we just happen to be the only two who find it ludacris and ridiculous that they enforce a law….created to deal with snow….when there is no snow.

      But apparently in your mind…that makes all the sence in the world. And by golly, its a law and a law is a law…right? Really, really, really??? That is honestly what you believe?

  26. j speedbag 64 says:

    the city council brain storms on how to rip people off and this looks like they will get the money they targeted……….pr cks……..

  27. Bubba says:

    More ignorant Minnesotans that can’t read signs or merge with traffic. Go figure.

  28. MM says:

    I live in Minneapolis where we have this wonderful thing called the “snow emergency” which is not so wonderful because people still park on the wrong side or get confused as to where they should be parking when this goes into effect. I wish that Minneapolis had this parking ordinance would really be so much easier as you wouldn’t have to figure out which side of the street to park on and they would haven’t to “declare a snow emergency.”
    The other thing that didn’t make much sense to me is that 1) if you have a driveway, why are you parking your car in the street? 2) if you park there every day, why did you continue to park there after getting a warning? In my book, you are just asking for a ticket!
    I am certain that this is not the first time since this ordinance was passed that there has been no snow so why is it an issue this year, is it because you CHOOSE to park on the street and not in your driveway or because you CHOOSE to ignore the warnings given prior to getting a ticket or because you just CHOOSE not to follow what the signs say?
    This ordinance is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t be that hard to follow but what I realized after read this ordinance that was put into effect in 1998 and that there was an addition to it in 2007 making anyone that violates the ordinance is subject to a penalty. Maybe this is the first year that there has not been snow and people are getting ticketed because they can’t follow the rules.
    Section 700:05. Parking
    Subd. 1. No person shall park or leave standing any vehicle on any street in the City on any day between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 12:00 o’clock noon from November 15th through March 31st, except as hereinafter provided: eff. 10/20/98
    a. On even-numbered calendar dates, vehicles may be parked on the near side of the street adjacent to lots and houses which have been assigned even numbers.
    b. On odd-numbered calendar dates, vehicles may be parked on the near side of the street adjacent to lots and houses which have been assigned odd numbers.
    c. This subdivision does not apply to any street where parking is limited to one side, to any cul-de-sac which has combined even and odd house numbers, nor to any street which has more restrictive parking requirements.
    d. This subdivision does not apply to street parking within a two block radius of duly constituted churches for regularly scheduled weekend services, holiday services, funerals, and weddings. Street parking is allowed one hour prior and one hour after the scheduled service times. eff. 2/20/07
    Subd. 2. Signs announcing the existence of the winter parking ordinance and the Hotline telephone number shall be placed at all entrances to the City of Owatonna. eff. 10/20/98
    Subd. 3. No vehicle shall be parked or be permitted to remain on any street in or serving the business district, as defined in Section 735:05, Subd. c., of the 1992 Ordinance Code of the City of Owatonna, between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any day, contrary to the signs ordered by the Council to be posted on such streets. Signs in place effective upon the adoption of this Ordinance shall be in effect until ordered changed. eff. 10/20/98
    Subd. 4. Any violation of this section shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Section 700:55, Subd. 3. o. eff.5/1/07

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