The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 8th

Carrboro aldermen focus on Carr Mill towing

Towing signs in Carr Mill Lot
Buy Photos Towing signs in Carr Mill Lot

Carrboro’s proposed towing restrictions might not be enough to solve downtown parking issues.

Last month, the town’s Board of Aldermen discussed complaints about increased towing in downtown lots.

Following Chapel Hill’s attempts to impose new restrictions on towing, Carrboro is looking into new rules that would ban towing of cars parked in areas without proper signage. Carrboro’s current restrictions mandate that towing companies accept credit and debit cards and limit towing charges to $100.

But representatives of Carr Mill Mall say some of the blame for the uptick in towing lies with the board — and limited downtown parking.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said the town has received several complaints about parking and towing despite the restrictions.

She said many complaints were about towing in the Carr Mill lots. She said people park in the lots, then walk off the property to shop at another nearby location and then have their cars towed.

“(Carr Mill owns) the parking lot, so they have the right to say that — regardless if we want them to,” she said. “There are other places to park in Carrboro, and unfortunately, people choose to park in Carr Mill when they aren’t planning on shopping there.”

Gist said another issue with parking in Carrboro was Chapel Hill’s new $250 park-and-ride lot fee, which will begin in August.

She said she had concerns about people parking in Carrboro’s free lots to avoid paying the fee.

In a statement made to the Board of Aldermen on June 25, Carr Mill officials said the real issue was the shortage of parking in Carrboro, rather than excessive towing.

The statement said because the town approved new downtown development without considering the lack of parking, the mall has needed to enforce lot rules more than it has in the past.

“Carr Mill has had to begin vigorously enforcing its long-standing rules regarding parking and leaving the property, something that Carr Mill does not like to do for obvious reasons,” the statement said.

“The town needs to acknowledge that Carrboro does not have a towing problem and that Carr Mill Mall is not the problem … The town, through its ordinances, policies and permit approvals, has a parking shortage of its own making.”

Alderman Damon Seils said the town has been looking into the issue.

“That is a conversation that the town will be having for a while,” he said. “We directed staff to start working on a downtown parking plan.”

But he said Carrboro’s towing restrictions and the lack of parking were two different issues.

“I am very interested in the parking discussion,” Seils said. “And I look forward to working with business owners.”

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