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Raleigh Committee Revisits City's Towing Policy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — To tow or not to tow? Raleigh City Council members are still trying to answer that question.

Predatory towing has been a sore spot for a lot of people for a long time.

The council's Law and Public Safety Committee is studying the issue and trying to find a solution for the frustration. The committee meets at 4 p.m. and the mayor's proposed towing ordinance is on the agenda for discussion.

Downtown Raleigh is getting a billion-dollar makeover. Plans are in the works for a new convention center, a 400-room hotel and a new Fayetteville Street minus the mall.

Many people feel that more needs to be done to address parking and towing in order to get visitors to come enjoy the changes.

"It leaves a bad image for anyone visiting the area and it's a scary experience to walk out of a restaurant or establishment and find your car gone," Larry Helfant said.

Visitors say tow truck drivers stalk and prey on people and where they park. City leaders are trying to find a way to deal with predatory towing so that business owners, visitors and the tow truck drivers can all get along

Mayor Charles Meeker pushed for a towing ban for some nonresidential downtown parking lots between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Others have wondered about the feasibility of using the boot or regulating tow truck drivers, like cab drivers.

"Financially, booting would be more beneficial," Meeker said.

The mayor has said the boot might be a good compromise, but does not support regulating drivers.

"The real problem here is not the quality of the tow trucks -- it's the conduct they are engaging in. So instead of setting up an office for licensing, it's better to just go after the conduct," Meeker said.

A public hearing in April for the proposed ordinance brought out angry residents who had had their cars towed as well as angry tow truck drivers who say they are just doing their job.

"The owners want it gone. We do it and we get blamed. We're providing a service," said Scott Rowland, a tow truck driver.

Follow Five On Your Side's First Investigation of Questionable Towing Practices:

  • July 21, 1999:
  • Raleigh Towing Company Makes Court Appearance
  • July 12, 1999:
  • Attorney General Files Suit Against Former Brentwood Towing
  • Dec. 2, 1998
  • Judge Orders Brentwood Towing to Turn Over Records
  • May 21, 1998:
  • Brentwood Towing Faces Misdemeanor Charges After DMV Investigation
  • May 19, 1998:
  • Brentwood Towing Victims, Attorney General, Speak Out
  • May 14, 1998:
  • Brentwood Towing Gets Visit From State Investigators
  • May 5, 1998:
  • Towing Victims Question Practices of Raleigh Company


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