Carrboro to rethink towing rules

Staff WriterJuly 30, 2008 

— Residents at Abbey Court Condominiums have reported paying more than $200 to retrieve vehicles towed from their parking lot and as much as $150 to have their cars unhooked from a tow truck.

On Thursday night, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen will consider new rules that would reduce those amounts.

Alderman Dan Coleman, who called the meeting with colleague Jacquie Gist, wanted to revise Carrboro's towing rules last winter after Chapel Hill limited its towing fees to $100, vehicle storage fees to $20 a day and unhooking fees to $50.

The aldermen will discuss an identical fee structure Thursday night, but Coleman said Chapel Hill's model could be altered to suit Carrboro's needs.

"This is not a new concern for us," he said. "We've had complaints about towing in various lots around town for a very long time, but the immediacy of the situation at Abbey Court brought it up to the front burner."

Chandler's Towing has taken at least 19 vehicles from the condominiums on Jones Ferry Road since July 17. Management is requiring parking stickers on vehicles and giving them only to residents whose cars meet strict appearance standards.

On Tuesday, Ken Lucas, Tar Heel Cos. president and CEO, said the standards would be relaxed. Lucas oversees management at Abbey Court.

Brad Chandler, who runs the towing company, said he charges $150 for a tow and $30 for each day of storage on the lot. The first day's storage fee kicks in "as soon as it pulls on the lot," he said, meaning a vehicle's owner would have to pay at least $180 to retrieve a vehicle. The new Carrboro rules would prevent a towing company from charging a storage fee within the first 24 hours.

Chandler's also charges $100 to remove a vehicle from a tow truck once it has been attached.

Chandler said the proposed rules would make it difficult to operate in Carrboro.

"We can't work for free," he said. "They're not in the towing business. That's why they want to charge that."

In a news release Tuesday, Lucas advised residents who have been denied permits to visit the Abbey Court office again and see resident manager Dee Gill.

"We will be reassessing any vehicle that has been previously denied due to an appearance issue," Lucas said. "Many that have been denied stickers are not leaseholders nor authorized occupants. We must remember that more than 212 residents have been issued permits and feedback from those residents has been very positive."

"I can assure you, I nor anyone in my company has any 'hidden agenda' and simply wish to provide for our residents," Lucas wrote in an e-mail message to town officials. "We have never and would never discriminate against anyone."

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or (919) 932-8760

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