Parking squabble surrounds shopping centers

February 20, 2012 3:43:55 PM PST
Two of the most popular shopping destinations on the city's west side are drawing fire from merchants and shoppers after a rash of car towing.

City Centre and Town and Country Village are only steps away from each other, separated by one small street. Tiny Queensbury Lane is the dividing line in what could be called a parking war between City Centre and Town and Country Village. Shoppers who park at one and then walk over to the other are getting towed at a cost of more than $200.

The owner of a blue car is another driver who found out the hard way that Town and Country Village is serious when it warns customers not to park on its property then venture next door to City Centre. We were there as the car was towed and when the driver came back to find the car gone.

He did not want to talk to us, but diner Kim Causey's group almost got towed, and they say they were surprised to find out they did something wrong.

"We went and got something to eat and came back and the car was being towed," Causey said.

Town and Country merchants told us that at night and on weekends their customers cannot find places to park.

Town and Country management told us they are, "Focused on trying to solve Town and Country's parking issues."

They added, "Security cameras follow people using parking spaces and then leaving."

Management added when it comes to towing, "We hate to do this."

"We didn't see the sign," said shopper Loretta Tompkins. "We drove in, we parked. We couldn't find a parking place and we didn't even think about it, until we walked out and they were towing the car away."

City Centre officials say they do not enforce parking quite as strictly, saying, "We are not towing anyone who parks here and goes to another location."

Town and Country management says in the past they tried hiring courtesy staff to warn shoppers not to leave their cars behind, but say that did not stop the practice.

Management says shoppers will buy a cup of coffee, then move their cars to a location closer to City Centre, then simply cross the street, so now they are enforcing their towing policy. City Centre officials tell us they want to come up with a plan with Town and Country Village to help bring the towing to an end.