HAMBURG, NY - It can sometimes be hard to find a spot to park at the beach, but a family from Evans told us they got a ticket for parking on the grass at Bennett Beach over the weekend, and they claim a no parking sign went up after they got out of their truck.
The Erie County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commissioner says another sign was already there.
"A John Deere park vehicle came racing up alongside of us, stopped right in front of us, got out, grabbed the sledge hammer and the sign and started pounding it into the grass and started rudely said we cannot park here on the grass," says an Evans father of two who does not want us to reveal his identity.
He took a picture of the Parks Department employee installing a new no parking sign Saturday in the grass at Bennett Beach.
"He said you gotta leave and I asked him, well, what about all these other people that are parked here, he says well, I'm going to go down to the beach and they're going to have 20 minutes to go there and move it.," says the man.
He decided to roll the dice, ignore the Erie County Parks employee, and make the ten minute walk to the beach with his wife and two daughters. He figured he would move his truck with everyone else when the announcement was made. He said that never happened and an hour later, at 4:13 in the afternoon, he got a ticket for parking in a prohibited place.
"There were two Erie County Sheriffs ticketing all of the vehicles. I did go up and talk to them, they were nice, but they said there was nothing they can do because the sign was there. They said I would have to go to court", he says.
"The only time we use that lot is when the main lot is full, and then we would park vehicles on the grass," says Erie County Parks Commissioner Troy Schinzel.
"He's saying the main lot was full," said Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik.
"Again, all I can do is attest to what I was told. I called the employee who was there yesterday. He said there was still parking in the main lot, and the Erie County Sheriffs inquired to him and he put up another sign," said Schinzel.
Schinzel tells us lifeguards made the announcement for people to move their cars. He says the county hasn't had to open the overflow parking in the grass yet this year. And since last summer, the main parking lot has been expanded.
"I apologize if there was a misunderstanding, or he assumed there were no spots. We can't always have staff there. We are just not capable of having staff everywhere," says Schinzel.
And since he left his truck on the grass to spend an hour at the beach, now this Evans dad will have to go to court.
"We did not see any sign when pulling in. So, if it was there, it was out of sight, and like I said, there was a row of cars there, so it looked like an overflow," he says.
Schinzel says he will see if more signs are needed to cut out any confusion, and he says people need to contact him if there are problems.
The beachgoers ticketed Sunday have to go to court July 29. They do not know how much they will have to pay yet, if they do end up having to pay their parking tickets.