WAKE COUNTY — Most college campuses do not have enough parking, so imagine how frustrating it is for students to see hundreds of empty spaces that they cannot use.
That is the case at Wake Technical Community College, where a new parking lot was built, but cannot be used. A Wake Tech student contacted Five On Your Side to find out why.
It is newly paved, striped and lit, but the sign at the front of a new parking lot at Wake Tech says "Do Not Enter."
"Why is it just sitting here taunting us, saying we have a 500-lot parking space and nobody's using it," asked student Carl Lindahl.
Lindahl is especially frustrated because parking at Wake Tech is at a premium.
"People park wherever they want to. They race up and down the lines just to find an open spot," he said.
Lindahl said that a lot of students are forced to park where they should not and get towed as a result.
Lindahl and many other students used to park in the former gravel lot. The school closed the lot during the summer to pave it. The job has been finished since September.
"You have a parking lot. Why not open it and let people use it," Lindahl asked.
Lindahl said that when he could not get a straight answer from the school, he contacted Five On Your Side. A rezoning sign near the lot offered a big clue as to why it remains closed.
Five On Your Side learned that the school paved too much of the property for how it is zoned and now has to get it rezoned before the lot can open.
"It has been a very, very taxing situation," according to Dr. Bruce Howell, president of Wake Tech.
Howell said that in the rush to get the lot ready for the fall semester, proper permitting rules were not followed.
"We probably could have done some things differently. I just think we had some honest mistakes that occurred and things that dropped through the cracks," Howell said.
Wake Tech is working with the county to resolve the issues. Right now, the county is allowing cars to park in part of the lot, but until everything is settled, the section in question is still off limits.
The rezoning proposal, which goes before the county commission on Dec. 3, is expected to pass.