Wednesday, September 9, 2009

CB approves new towing ordinance

When we were first looking at our soon-to-be-our condo in Carolina Beach, one thing no one mentioned was just how fast "they" are to tow at our location. It was only after we bought it and started having guests that a neighbor stopped us in the covered parking area (we must have had that new neighbor look about us) and told us that cars get towed with the quick-fast. She even suggested that we make sure to put a temporary tag in our car first thing when we or anyone else arrives.

She wasn't kidding. One of our first renters had their car towed, and a couple of weekends ago, our neighbors below our unit -- who were just stopping in for a bit -- had to go from CB to Monkey Junction to retrieve their vehicle.

Well, at least now it looks like there may be some slack on this issue.

According to the Star-News, "Carolina Beach passed a new towing ordinance Tuesday night restricting towing companies, but not requiring individual signed requests for each tow."

The new ordinance contains several measures intended to protect town residents and visitors from perceived predatory towing. Lots must have specific signs posted warning of parking and towing practices. Towing companies must release vehicles on site for a fee of $25 and must release a car that is on the truck but not to the lot for a fee of $50; lots may not be more than 20 miles from town limits. A representative must be available at all times to release a vehicle in a timely manner.

However, the new ordinance does not contain one of the more controversial measures, which would require a signed request by the property owner or representing party for each individual tow.

While many people spoke at the town’s last meeting about perceived predatory towing in the town, representatives from condo buildings and associations asked that the burden of enforcing parking regulations not be left to private citizens. Several said signing individual towing requests for each vehicle towed put an unfair burden on homeowners. Others said that confronting illegal parkers could be dangerous for residents.

It is important that visitors and homeowners follow the rules and make sure it's obvious that they are allowed to park where they are staying. But they should also be give a fair amount of time before their car is towed away. At the same time, it's vital that the "first come, first served" or "you snooze you lose" attitude with regards to close-to-the-beach parking be addressed.

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