A little over a year ago I caused a firestorm by referring to booting and towing as twin evils. I called out some (not all) towing companies as predatory in nature and stated that I feel they take advantage of our residents, students, and visitors. After a year of work we are ready to bring this issue to a head in our December 17th council meeting.
My deep look into towing and booting has helped me see the problem for what it is. I have come to the conclusion that while some of our lots are well managed and use booting and towing as last resorts, too many are indeed predatory and make victims of well-meaning visitors and students.
I have found that the heart of the problem goes back to a change made in our ordinance in 2005. Up until then, we required the property owner to decide on whether to tow a vehicle or not. This decision was made by the owner or manager on an individual, case-by-case basis. In 2005 we changed the ordinance to allow for the tow to be initiated by a towing company without the specific consent of the property owner. Holy cow! What were we thinking? In essence we allow a towing company employee who makes 30% ($52.50) commission to decide that a car needs to be towed instead of the owner who is trying to carefully manage their property.
It’s time to undo our mistake. I want to put the decision back in the hands of property owners and take it away from those who profit by the tow. At the same time I realize we have responsible owners who are managing the tow companies and I don’t want to penalize them. As a result, the ordinance we are asking the council to approve will have a method for responsible owners to continue functioning as they do now.
In our council meeting this past week, the council asked for two more weeks to study the ordinance and to get public feedback. For those of you who have strong feelings on this issue now is the time to get involved. We have a great public process but it only works if you get involved. Please read the Proposed Ordinance, share your feelings with the council members and attend our council meeting on Tuesday, Dec 17.
We’ve come up with a quick 4-5 question survey we’d like to use to get some feedback from you. Please help us out.