Towing ordinance revised for Appalachian football crowds

With pressure from the university’s football season crowds, Boone Town Council passed revisions to the towing ordinance Thursday night at the town council meeting.

The ordinance has been reorganized and now requires towing companies to be on call for six hours after towing and two hours total to collect the fine and release the car.

“The expectation is that people can get their cars back within some reasonable time,” Town Attorney Sam Furgiuele said at the town meeting. “I’m flabbergasted that that’s some huge, horrible burden to call somebody back.”

The times could be shortened or extended, Furgiuele said.

 

The “lack” of response time in the original ordinance “was an oversight,” Furgiuele said.

Response time is specified in booting section but not towing, Furgiuele said.

Councilman Andy Ball said the changes are “needed and reasonable” and made a motion to pass the revisions, with exception of a sentence for the section about signage, and that the changes be posted on the public notice section of the town’s website.

Council members made a motion for further discussion.

“There hasn’t been much opportunity for public to comment on this and I’m a little concerned about,” Councilman Rennie Brantz said.

Leigh said she was “equally” concerned about someone without a car.

“That’s not the welcome to Boone signal I want to give to people,” Mayor-Pro Tem Jamie Leigh said.
Ball said the decision needed to be made to accommodate crowds during football season.

“We’d be agreeing to strand people by not acting tonight,” Ball said.

Since 1984, when Cpt. Jim Wilson started working for Boone Police Department, there had not been any similar incidents to the Sept. 8 one, he said.

On Sept. 8, Owner of Mountaineer Towing & Recovery Tyler McKeithan was forced by Boone Police Department to release a vehicle that was towed from an out-of-state visitor after business hours.

Eric McKeithan, father of Tyler McKeithan said said his concern of the ordinance was the safety of his employees by responding to possibly intoxicated individuals.



“They have absolutely no regard for the safety of our employees or us,” McKeithan said. 

Towing companies can call the police if they feel they will be in a situation that is not safe, Wilson said.

“It’s as simple as calling 911,” Wilson said.

Boone Police Department has a one and a half to two minutes response time, Wilson said.

Furgiuele also said he forgot to mention a section in the draft at the Tuesday meeting that clarifies required signage in parking lots that enforce towing.

Passing the specific section requires an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance, UDO processing and public hearing, Furgiuele said.

Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Editor