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Originally published: 2013-01-15 13:12:14
Last modified: 2013-01-15 13:12:14

Letter to editor: Beyond Parking in Boone

I am writing in response to the story the Watauga Democrat wrote about towing and wheel locking in Boone (“Immobilized and Confused,” Jan. 9). I had been on a business trip out of the country doing parking consulting work at the time the article was published. My company is a full-service parking enforcement company that works with private businesses, local and foreign governments to find ways to limit parking violations.

LMS has always been willing to work with the town of Boone and any local businesses that contact us concerning parking enforcement. LMS has been doing business in Boone for more than nine years. During the past nine years, LMS has never received an ordinance violation for improper signage. In that same period of time, two of LMS’s agents have been fined for not displaying their town-issued ID outside of their uniform. In both cases, LMS disciplined the agents and put them on probation while they were retrained. As to windows being tinted, all vehicles are privately owned and operated by agents of LMS. LMS does not allow any agent to have tinted windows darker than the law allows. LMS strives to treat every violator with respect and kindness. In very few cases where a violator has become unruly and rude, we are trained to handle each case on an individual basis. More than 99 percent of violators admit they had read the signs, but made a decision to park in the private lot anyway. They all have taken full responsibility for their actions and paid the removal fee and had gone about their day. To date, LMS has never gotten a call or letter from anyone stating they were treated rudely, nor have our agents been asked to show an ID and we refused to do so.

The lot on King Street is a private lot and all signs placed there are in accordance with the town of Boone ordinances. We were shown by town officials where all signs were to be placed. All wording on signs in the lot were on the advice of several city council members, four downtown business owners and four private Boone citizens back in 2006. We have been enforcing the rules there under these conditions since 2006. We have spent many hours asking businesses around the lot on King Street to place signs at the entrances of their stores that ask customers not to park in the private lot we enforce. We have also asked that they train their staff to ask their customers were they had parked. We have worked out agreements with most of the businesses around the lot that we give a set amount of time before a lock is placed on a vehicle. This gives someone ample time to come back and move their vehicle to a public parking space before their vehicle is wheel locked.

I will be attending the city council meeting on Jan. 15 to discuss what, if anything, we can do to further help people understand that the lot on King Street is a private lot. For the past six years we have had no less than 21 warning signs in the lot which has less than 45 parking spots. I will be asking the town to allow me to put back the larger signs that I had placed there a few months ago, when the town had asked me to remove them. I was told by the Town of Boone Planning and Inspections Department that if I did not remove the signs I would be in violation of the sign ordnance and would be fined for every day the signs remained. I removed the signs that day. I have also been asking the town for six years to have the illegal, very misleading sign removed that Murphy’s bar place in the lot. Murphy’s does not own or rent any space in the lot. To date I have not received help from the town to do so.

I look forward to meeting with the town to discuss this matter and finding a suitable resolution.

Jon Tate
Owner LMS Parking