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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2003

LHMA criticized for blocking disabled spot


Randy Weiler says those responsible for repairing his building have put him in a fix more than once by using his handicapped parking spot.

Mr. Weiler, 45, is registered for a handicapped parking spot at Vistula Manor, a public housing building on Cherry Street, where he lives with his girlfriend, Tammy Jones, 38. Miss Jones has multiple sclerosis.

On July 8, Mr. Weiler said he found a maintenance van belonging to the Lucas County Metropolitan Housing Authority, which maintains the building, in his spot. He had to park in the building's fire lane, unload Miss Jones, take her up to their apartment, then run back downstairs. In the 15 minutes he was gone, Toledo police ticketed his car for parking in the fire lane.

He said he approached the maintenance man, who was fixing doors at Vistula Manor, and asked why he had parked there. The man said management had told him he could park anywhere he wished.

Rather than have the $25 ticket on his record, Mr. Weiler took it to court and fought it. He won - and lost. He didn't have to pay the $25 ticket but was charged $46 in court costs. Still, it's a partial victory. “I just didn't want it on my record,” Mr. Weiler said.

Yesterday, his spot was occupied again by an LMHA maintenance van.

Vistula Manor's manager, Kathi Crane, declined comment on the matter.

After being informed of the incident, Lawrence Gaster, executive director of LMHA, said management at the manor had agreed, after yesterday, to try to patrol the area more often for violators.

While he said he did not know whether a maintenance man had received permission to park in the spot, he said it certainly isn't LMHA policy.

“Our guys ought to know better than that,” Mr. Gaster said. “There are no special favors for employees. They have to find a legal space like everyone else.”

Mr. Gaster said he'd once seen a maintenance vehicle parked in a handicapped spot at that property and had it removed immediately.

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