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'Such an extreme measure': Carr Mill Mall introduces heightened parking lot security

Signs at Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro warn customers of new towing policy on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

Lauren Robinson’s  car was towed at Carr Mill Mall on Nov. 4. Robinson, a UNC junior, said  she parked at Carr Mill, shopped inside the mall with some friends, and crossed the street for 20 minutes to do some more shopping nearby.

When she finished up her shopping, she discovered her car had been towed.

“They would have had to call [the towing company] immediately when we went across the street to have it towed in that time,” she said.

Robinson said it was about an hour-long process to retrieve her car.

Carr Mill Mall  announced in an Instagram post  on Nov. 8 that it would be implementing a new camera system to monitor its parking lots, encouraging patrons in the lots to stay on site.

The mall, located at 200 N. Greensboro St. in Carrboro,  has three parking lots located on Weaver Street and Greensboro Street. The Greensboro Street lot is the largest, located on the north side of the mall in front of Harris Teeter.

Some business owners at  Carr Mill recently received a bulleted list titled “Carrboro Parking, A short explanation of recent history” from Nathan Milian, the mall’s landlord.

The document  states that the closing of a municipal parking lot on South Greensboro Street  amplified the “already enormous strain on Carr Mill’s customer parking lots.” The lot was closed in 2022 to construct a new branch library and civic building on the property.

In 2022, the Town of Carrboro conducted a parking study, in which Milian provided a summary  statement for the mall. He said in the statement the mall had sufficient parking but that he was concerned about future parking adequacy if public spaces were to be taken away with new developments.

A Carr Mill Mall business owner who asked to stay anonymous for the sake of their business, said, while they believe the closing of the Greensboro Street lot is the reason for the heightened parking security at Carr Mill, they haven’t seen that strain. The anonymous owner added that they did not receive notice of the installation of the cameras inside the mall or in the parking lot.

“I think in general,  cameras are a good idea for safety, but I just don’t know that this purpose is solely out of safety,” they said.

David Bradley,  the owner of Golden Fig Books at  Carr Mill Mall,  said that some  of his customers have been upset with the increased enforcement of parking policies.

“We have had  people have bad experiences and say that’s going to affect if they’re able to come back,” he said. 

Jon Hartman-Brown,  the Town of Carrboro’s director of economic development,  said that  while the Town is aware of citizen complaints and concerns about the surveillance and enforcement, there is limited ability for the town to take any action because Carr Mill Mall’s lots are privately-owned.

The towing company employed by Carr Mill Mall, Barnes Auto & Towing, is about a 15-minute drive from the mall, Robinson said. The company said they cannot comment on the details of their relationship with any private employer, including any specific information about the mall.  

“It seems unnecessary to use such an extreme measure because they’re not giving you a warning, they’re not giving you a ticket — they are just towing your car,” Robinson said.

@DTHCityState | 

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