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Originally published: 2014-05-22 20:08:02
Last modified: 2014-05-22 20:08:47

Council to revisit booting, towing ordinance

by Anna Oakes

Boone Town Councilwoman Lynne Mason said Thursday that she plans to place the town's booting and towing ordinance on the June meeting agenda for consideration of additional changes following several recent complaints.

Several people at the council's Monday and Thursday meetings shared their negative experiences with parking and having vehicles wheel-locked in the private downtown lot at the corner of King and Water streets. Jon Tate, owner of LMS Parking that patrols the lot, also spoke to the council on Monday.

"I do plan next month to put this back on the council agenda and see what we can do with the ordinance," Mason said. "It causes so much ill will."

"We've heard multiple stories like this in the past month or so," added Mayor Andy Ball. "Clearly there is a lot more that needs to be done."

Brittany Johnson on Monday told the council about her recent experience in the lot, noting that she was not contesting the violation itself but the "unpleasant" treatment from the parking attendant.
Johnson said when she warned someone else not to park in the lot after her vehicle was wheel-locked, the parking attendant yelled at her and threatened to have her arrested for trespassing.

On Thursday, attorney Charles Brady said he had a similar experience in November 2012, claiming that the parking attendant was inside a vehicle when he parked in the lot. A woman identifying herself only as "Ann" said she was wheel-locked in the lot April 25 by an attendant in a dark vehicle with dark windows and that the attendant was rude.

Speaking earlier this month, Tate disputed claims that his employees were not abiding by the town's ordinance requirements, including a mandate that parking lot monitors either position themselves in open air or monitor from a vehicle with company insignia or a flashing light.

Tate said it's the nature of the business for wheel-locked drivers to feel as if they are being treated rudely, even if parking attendants are being fair. Tate said his company was working to document customer interactions at the request of the Boone Police Department, which has received several complaints in recent weeks.

As part of the consent agenda at Thursday's meeting, the council approved an updated list of sidewalk construction priorities recommended by the town's Transportation Committee.
The top 10 sidewalk priorities recommended are, in descending order: N.C. 194 from U.S. 421 to New Market Boulevard; Perkinsville Drive and Grove Street from N.C. 194 to U.S. 421; State Farm Road from Sunnyside Drive to N.C. 105 Extension; Meadowview Drive from Greenway Road to Blowing Rock Road; N.C. 105 Extension from U.S. 321 to Azalea Drive; Poplar Grove Road from Water Street to the Poplar Grove Road Extension; U.S. 421 West from current sidewalks to the corporate limits; N.C. 105 Extension from Azalea Drive to U.S. 421; Greenway Road from Leola Street to Pride Drive; and Greenway Road from Wilson Drive to Deck Hill Road.

Jeff Templeton spoke during the public comment period to ask the council to move Meadowview Drive, Leola Street and Greenway Road higher on the sidewalk priority list. Templeton displayed photos of elderly and disabled persons, students and adults with children walking within the roadways of these streets because no sidewalks exist.

"I'm asking for you to help the over 900 citizens who live in apartments on Leola, Meadowview and Greenway roads," Templeton said. "It's an extremely dangerous situation."

Templeton said the State Farm sidewalk project, which currently sits at No. 1 on the list, is not needed for public safety and described it as a "luxury."

Mason noted prior to the vote to approve the consent agenda that the State Farm sidewalk is six weeks away from being complete and that the next two on the list would hopefully be completed with the aid of grant funding.

Harvard Ayers of the new nonprofit Carbon Free Boone appeared before the council Thursday with a presentation proposing that Boone set a goal to become carbon free, and council members said the newly reinstated Sustainability Task Force would take up the issue.