Knoxville mobile home park community upset with strict towing rules

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Some people who live at a Knoxville mobile home park say their friends can’t visit them without fear of their cars being towed. It’s happened several times to residents of Amherst Ridge Mobile Home Park in Knoxville. The towing bill is several hundred dollars for each vehicle.

Residents say the towing policy has been in effect for some time now but never enforced this vigorously. Amherst Ridge in Knoxville is an attractive mobile home community with a lot of amenities. However, considering all of the homes at Amherst Ridge, there are very few spaces where visitors can park. If they park in front of a person’s home, or if the homeowner parks on their grass, their vehicle is likely to be towed.

Like many people, Shonna Eldridge enjoys having friends over to her place. Eldridge owns her mobile home and pays $390 a month for the site. With Shonna’s two cars in her driveway, there’s no space at her home for anyone to park. A friend’s car was towed last week at a cost of $150.

She says, “It was literally sitting right here at the edge. As you can see this there is enough room and the tires were right here, but it’s still not in the street.” She went to the management office and asked about her friend’s vehicle being towed. They told her since it was not parked on the driveway properly, they towed it.

The tow tore up the grass in her front yard, as it was not a gentle move.

“You can’t even have company, family, or anything come out here without them towing their vehicle,” Shonna said.

Two weeks ago a car was towed in front of David Leonardi’s home.

“I had a car parked right here, someone came to pick me up. They parked the vehicle here. They came in the door, I was getting my stuff together ready to come out and the car was gone. Just like that, they pulled up towed it away and it was gone,” Leonardi said.

The towing company bill was $340. Park rules say if the tires of a car are on the grass, it may be towed. David has had three towing bills this year. Earlier this month, his truck was towed from the overflow area in front of the management office.

“I think it’s wrong. I think that management should allow it,” Leonardi said. “I mean, I own the home. I pay for the lot. I should be able to do what I want on my lot. Association or no association, if I need a parking space let me have one.”

There are signs around Amherst Ridge that vehicles could be towed. At the office, there are parking spaces for “future residents and staff.” This overflow area is set aside for visitor parking as well. But there are no designated signs directing visitors to the spaces.

On behalf of Mr. Leonardi and Ms. Eldridge, WATE 6 On Your Side went to the office seeking some clarification about parking rules. We have learned that parking regulations are explained in a resident orientation video which is required viewing.

WATE 6 wrote to the corporate and regional offices of Amherst Ridge regarding their parking rules and has yet to receive a response. Residents say they understand they need to keep the roads in their community passable for emergency vehicles and those we spoke with on and off camera said they want the community association and management to come up with a solution to end what they call excessive towing.

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