Fake tickets and unofficial cones: public parking debate turns to city

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -To park or not to park?

That was the question, but is now a debate between a group of Glen Dow Academy students and the owner of Urbanna Spa, Salon & Wine. It's all because of public parking on Division Street in downtown Spokane, right outside the salon and about a half-mile away from Glen Dow Academy.

Briana Hess and Kassandra Fields both attend the school and park on the street by the salon. Both said they utilize the public parking instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a parking pass next to their school.

Hess and Fields said they've received complaints from the business about parking outside, along with requests to move. Both are refusing to park elsewhere and sticking by their stances that because it's a public space, they should be allowed to use it without consequences.

While they haven't broken any laws, they still experienced retribution.

"Last Friday, we got here and there were cones up. I called the city and they said to move them because it's city parking. Tuesday, we parked, moved the cones again, and then when we came back, we had the tickets on our cars," Hess said."

The cones and tickets were both fake, written by Urbanna's owner, Linda Biel. She said she bought the tickets at a local toy store, checked off the boxes for 'occupying a space forever' and 'driving an ego machine.' She also wrote at the bottom, 'Karma will haunt you.'

"They're supposed to be a joke. I should've spelled karma C-A-R-M-A,' Biel said.

Biel said this is the first time she's ever dealt with non-customers parking in front of her business for extended hours. According to Biel, it's had a negative effect on her business.

"This became kind of frustrating because we were losing business and getting complaints. Out of desperateness, I put cones out," Biel said.

"Our clients are driving around and there's no sports. Some of them had to cancel their appointments," she said.

She said she regrets the decision and is ready to let the city handle the issue.

"I apologized on Facebook to every one of the girls who posted negative things about me as a business owner and I apologized. I shouldn't have done it. I wish I hadn't done it," she said.

"The city is reviewing it and they're eventually going to make a decision on either putting a parking sign up or they're going to put up meters. That's just a matter of time. I'm going to wait. That's what I should've done in the first place," Biel said.

However, both students said they've also contacted the city and received a different response.

"When we talked to the city, they told us in no reasonable time were they going to put meters here and that it's not at the top of their priority list," Fields said.

City offices were closed on Saturday and could not be reached for comment.

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