Knoxville City Council looks to modify parking booting policy

Knoxville City Council looks to modify parking booting policy

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At the Central Parking System's lot in Downtown Knoxville Wednesday afternoon, 6 News spotted two different cars, each with two boots. At the Central Parking System's lot in Downtown Knoxville Wednesday afternoon, 6 News spotted two different cars, each with two boots.
Knoxville City Council passed an ordinance in 2008 which set the maximum price for booting, but the ordinance never specified how many boots could be applied to a vehicle. Knoxville City Council passed an ordinance in 2008 which set the maximum price for booting, but the ordinance never specified how many boots could be applied to a vehicle.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The City of Knoxville is looking into changing a policy on "booting" vehicles when drivers don't pay for parking on privately owned lots.

This comes after the city and council members received a flood of complaints.  

City officials say the complaints stem from several downtown lots owned by Central Parking Systems.   

At the Central Parking System's lot in Downtown Knoxville Wednesday afternoon, 6 News spotted two different cars, each with two boots.

Some, like Knox County commissioner Ed Shouse who owns property downtown, have noticed even more.  Shouse says he first noticed a high number of "bootings" during the first weekend of May.  

"An hour I was here, I noticed eight cars had been booted," Shouse said.  

City officials say they've received complaints of cars having two boots, and as many as three.  

"It certainly doesn't send a message that we want to send as a community to those people that come from out of town.  We've heard that's that happened to several people who come to the farmer's market on the weekend," said Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor/Chief Operating Officer for the City of Knoxville.  

The city is looking to amend the ordinance to make sure a company can't put more than one boot on a vehicle.  

It costs $75 to remove each boot, with cash or credit card needed on the spot.    

Knoxville City Council passed an ordinance in 2008 which set the maximum price for booting, but the ordinance never specified how many boots could be applied to a vehicle.  

"It seems to be taking advantage of them, especially more than once for that," said Eliza Bryant, a Knoxville resident.  

Officials requested that Central Parking Systems remove one sign that advertised public parking in the company's privately owned lot. The company removed the sign last week.

"There is some confusion, but people see public parking and assume it's free city parking, unfortunately those private lots have the ability to enforce those public parking differently than the city does," said Branscom.  

Others like Eliza Bryant paid for a full day parking, but after leaving for a few minutes to run an errand her car was booted.  

Bryant says she was unaware she wasn't able to leave the lot and come back. 

"We already paid and assumed it wouldn't be an issue, since we had only been here for a couple of hours," Bryant said.

Many are concerned frequent booting could hurt Downtown Knoxville's reputation, causing visitors not to return. 

"These people are coming and spend money and support our downtown," said West Knoxville resident Deedee Love. "We want people to do that, so why penalize them?"

6 News reached out to the corporate office for Central Parking Systems for a comment.  Our calls were not returned.  

Knoxville City Council hopes to take up the issue at its meeting in August.

The Wrecker Services Commission has the authority to adjust the $75 fee to remove the boot.   The city says the commission is looking into that.  

The five member board made up of city employees and consumer representatives would approve any pricing changes.

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