Tow Zone: Council right to crack down on abusive towing
September 18, 2013 12:55 AM | 2249 views | 1 1 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DMDA head Tom Browning near where tow-zone signs will go up.<bR>Staff/Jeff Stanton
DMDA head Tom Browning near where tow-zone signs will go up.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
Motorists passing through small towns have for years had to be wary of “speed traps” set by unscrupulous officials to catch the unaware and provide a steady flow of income into local coffers.

The city of Marietta has been dealing with a comparable problem in recent years, although Marietta’s challenge would be better described as a “parking trap” and is of private origin, not public.

At issue is the parking lot behind the business at 27 Atlanta St. a block off Marietta Square. The city has been skirmishing for years with the lot’s owners, who have gained notoriety for their practice of having any car parked there without paying towed away immediately — seemingly as soon as the “offender” has walked around the corner.

Prior to December 2011, owner Robert Tillman was booting such vehicles (almost immediately) and charging a $125 removal fee. At that point, the council stepped in and capped the boot removal fee at $50. But the problems — and complaints — have continued.

The mayor and council say they have received numerous letters from irate people who have visited the Square or nearby businesses, parked in the lot in question and then been towed. They say signage at the lot is poor and they did not realize it was a private, “pay” lot. The result is the appearance of a “predatory” situation condoned by the council, they say.

Numerous similarly angry letters from visitors to our city have appeared through the years on the Editorial pages of this newspaper.

Tillman counters that he must act as he does in order to protect his property rights.

“We only have 23 spaces in that parking lot and everyone wants to park there,” Tillman said.

Nonetheless, the Council voted unanimously — and correctly — last week to set a maximum towing fee of $125, with no additional fees allowed during the first 24 hours after a vehicle is towed. Of equal or greater significance, the council gave the green light for the Downtown Marietta Development Authority to put up signs along the sidewalk by the lot warning motorists they run the risk of being towed if they park in the lot.

Hopefully, the signs will do the trick and alert drivers to the potential pitfalls of parking in the lot in question without permission. And if they do not, the council should address the issue again.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
so change that
September 18, 2013
"Eeveryone wants to park there,” Tillman said.

He is correct about that. You enter from Atlanta St, go around the block to the right, that lot is your "last chance" for parking.

We can solve this problem by making Anderson street 1-way from Atlanta St across Waddell down to Roswell St

The lot is then never even seen as people would be past it before they see it, with a very long return trip to go back and park in it.

We can put up some signs. After "someone" removes them we can put them up again. And again. And again.

1-way of Anderson is the only solution. Eastbound travel on Anderson is no longer needed the way it used to be. If somebody coming from the Big Chicken on Roswell St wants to go south on Atlanta Rd or Powder Springs, we have a South Loop available, and Alexander has not been residential in 10 years, so Alexander is a perfectly good avenue as well.
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