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Abbey Court parking problems bring police

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More problems with parking at the Abbey Court condominiums brought police to the Carrboro complex twice on Monday.

Around 3 a.m. an officer helped emergency workers with a man who'd run over his own foot because he hadn't seen a parking boot.

Officer L. Alvarez wrote in a police report: "A boot was placed on Basurto`s car ...  Basurto didn't realize the boot was on the vehicle and attempted to drive the car.  He opened the door to see why the car was not moving and didn't realize the car was in reverse.  The car lurched backwards and ran up on the curb, pulling Basurto underneath. Basurto suffered minor injuries to his foot.  He was cleared by EMS. "

The second incident happened around 11 p.m. when a woman called police about her car being towed.

Officer M. Metz wrote: "The victim advised that she had attempted to go the office on the 4th of August 2008 at approximately 1700hrs and attempted get a parking pass for her vehicle but the property manager, Deedee Gill, wasn't in the office. Mrs. Ramos advised that the assistant told her that she couldn't help and that she needed to speak with Ms. Gill. Ms. Ramos explained to me that she had already obtained a parking pass for her other vehicle but the vehicle that Chandler`s Towing was towing was refused a parking pass because of a cracked windshield. ... Ms. Gill explained to us that she needed to take a picture of the vehicle and send it to the home office to get approval to give Ms. Ramos a parking pass. When I asked Ms. Gill why her assistant didn't take the picture, Ms. Gill could not give me an explanation."

Ramos paid $50 to have her car unhooked from the wrecker, Metz wrote.

The background:
Chandler's Towing has removed a number of vehicles from the condominiums off Jones Ferry Road since management began enforcing a new policy July 17.

Tar Heel Cos. now requires parking stickers on vehicles and had been giving them only to residents whose cars met strict appearance standards. Vehicles that did not pass a visual inspection or whose owners could not produce required paperwork were denied parking stickers, leading many residents and community members to claim discrimination. The Orange County Office of Human Rights and Relations is investigating.

Last week the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted to limit towing fees in the town.

Tar Heel Cos. management have said the appearance standards would be relaxed, and that the company hasn't been discriminating against anyone.

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three issues

three sets of issues, I believe.
(1) preventing use of Abbey Court lots as an unofficial park-and-ride; the J bus from Abbey Court runs more frequently than a lot of normal park-and-ride routes.
(2) seriously inconveniencing off-lease residents, to force them to either pay the application fee and get their names on the lease or else move out.
(3) improving the appearance, in the hope of improving the complex's reputation enough to allow charging higher rent.

do we know the full story

What is the real problem here? Too many cars? Off lease tenants? Slummy appearance (by landlord standards?) It is just so silly to put an appearance requirement into the issuing of a parking sticker that there has to be something else the landlord is worried about--or the landlord is mighty stupid. If the issue is people living there and parking there who aren't on leases, then deal with that. If issue is tenants who are trying to start home based car dealerships, then deal with that. If the issue is junked cars, deal with that. But if a car is legal to drive on the road, it should be legal to park it in a parking lot. Limit the number of parking stickers per unit, limit the length of time a visitor car can be parked in the lot, and stop being so silly. It reminds me of when we used to get the length of our dresses measured before we were allowed in school.

Abbey Court Tenants Are An Inspiration

Abusive and predatory towing has become a national problem, and the tenants at Abbey Court are on the front lines of a revolution against this all-too-common tyranny. They are an inspiration. I hope tenants all over the country will organize in a similar way, drawing inspiration and tactical lessons from the folks at Abbey Court.

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