Birmingham city leaders share potential ordinance changes to downtown towing and parking

Town hall to discuss parking, towing ordinance
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham city leaders are drafting a new parking and towing ordinance after hundreds of complaints from downtown visitors and business owners.

The city is hosting a town hall on June 7 for people to voice complaints and hear proposed ordinance changes.

Birmingham’s transportation committee said most of this predatory towing is happening in private lots. They said the tow companies hired by those lots have been taking advantage of loopholes in city laws.

“We have private parking lots throughout the city of Birmingham, but most concentrate on the downtown area,” Darrell O’Quinn with the Birmingham Transportation Committee Chair said. “The owners of those lots have rules and regulations that they have to comply with, but those rules and regulations have not necessarily been ideal for the customer standpoint. The people who those parking lot owners employ to enforce parking on their property, have been taking advantage in some cases in some loopholes in the laws.”

According to residents, businesses owners, and visitors towing happens even when you follow the signs and pay the apps.

The town hall meeting will start with city leaders sharing the complaints they have gotten and what changes to the ordinance they are suggesting. They will also take speakers and listen to community feedback about the issues.

They are even expecting some of these contracted towing companies to be at the meeting, but officials said no changes are off the table.

“The parking lot markings, in terms of stripes on pavement, the signage, how the payment systems operate will be addressed,” O’Quinn said. “But, it could go into things like the amount of lighting required. Whether or not there has to be a attendant on site. The conversation is really open right now in terms of what we want to see and that is where the community really comes in and sharing their experiences with what has been a problem, and what actually needs to be addressed in the ordinance changes.”

O’Quinn said they are also considering adding a time period in, from when someone parks, to when a towing company is allowed to tow the car.

The town hall is tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Boutwell Arena. People interested in speaking should show up at 5:30 p.m. to sign up.

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