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Originally published: 2013-01-15 22:34:11
Last modified: 2013-01-15 22:35:47

Council tables booting decisions

by Anna Oakes

The Boone Town Council did not take action on proposed revisions to its vehicle booting regulations Tuesday, tabling the matter to the February meeting.

Council members said they would prefer not to require a sign at every single parking space for which unauthorized vehicles may be booted. But signs currently required to be posted per every three spaces should be more clear and include the authorized building(s) or business names, they said.

The ordinance already requires signs posted at parking lot entrances to list the buildings or business names for which parking is authorized.

"To me, if you drive into the lot, and you don't see the sign, and you walk past the sign, you're out of luck," said Councilman Andy Ball.

The amendments considered also require a parking lot attendant to remain on the premises after a vehicle is booted and to clearly display identification on his or her person. In addition, if the parking attendant is to wait inside of a vehicle, the vehicle must display signage identifying the towing company or a flashing light.

Jon Tate, owner of Lot Management Solutions, spoke during the public comment period, responding to complaints about booting in a lot at the corner of King and Water streets downtown that his company patrols. The council discussed a number of complaints about the lot before directing town staff to develop changes to the towing and booting ordinance at the December council meeting.

Tate said he was unaware of complaints made about his business practices, other than standard complaints about being booted, and he asked why the town did not forward complaints on to him.

Tate said he has in the past attempted to post signs advising which businesses' patrons are not authorized to park in the lot but has been asked to remove them because they violate the town's sign ordinance.

"As a company we've done everything to go over and above," Tate said.

Property owners Jerry Butler and Mark Templeton also spoke during the public comment period in support of Tate and the town's current booting policies, emphasizing that booting is more effective and less of a hassle than towing.

"I hope it's not excessive, burdensome sign placement," Butler said.

Templeton said requiring a booting company vehicle to display a flashing light would put the booting company out of business.

"(It would) create a situation where we would pretty much have to tow exclusively," Templeton said.

In other action, the council adopted new code language amending its regulations on firearms in parks and other town properties. A 2011 state law prohibited local governments from banning guns in public parks, except on playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities and swimming pools.

The town had previously banned the possession of any firearm from town parks except by law enforcement officers.

Tuesday's action revises town ordinances to permit concealed handguns in town parks by persons with concealed handgun permits, except on the Boone Greenway Trail, the canoe access to the New River area near U.S. 421 and New River Heights, Industrial Fields, Jaycees Park, Jimmy Smith Park, Junaluska Park and North Street Park.

In these parks, a person with a concealed handgun permit may secure the handgun in a locked motor vehicle within the trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment.