After hearing many complaints about boots being placed on cars at Cleveland Plaza, township officials introduced an ordinance that would ban booting on private property.
The idea was initially proposed during a committee workshop meeting on Oct. 21, to serve as temporary way to protect residences until the committee forms a more complete ordinance on the practice, according to Attorney Dan McCarthy.
“The ordinance will make the practice illegal in the Township,” McCarthy said in the workshop meeting. “Until we, if the township committee decides to approve it, from a more comprehensive scheme.”
During the introduction of the ordinance, Commissioner Kevin Campbell said
after speaking with the Police Department’s Traffic Unit and the Township
Attorney they all agreed this presented a public safety issue based on the
little notice given and the amount of money being charged.
He explained that cars were charged $100, larger vehicles $150 and trucks, $200 and demanded to pay it in cash, there was no check or credit option.
“We have decided on a temporary basis to completely outlaw the practice and we will review it at a later time when we can meet with all businesses,” he said. “We may draft an ordinance where booting can be allowed at a certain cost and I stress, we may.”
Commissioner Andis Kalnins agreed that the way the current landlord went about the practice was improper, but this ordinance is very strong in the other direction.
“I’m going to support this tonight based on the fact we will be revisiting this very shortly,” he said.
Kalnins added that they would be looking for input from property owners that would both protect the rights of the property owner and citizens of this town. He said that there are other ways for private properties to go about people illegally parking, such as towing that are protected under state law, which protects predatory practices, such as this, he said.
Commissioner Lisa Adubato agreed with Kalnins that the ordinance was very strong in the other direction and abstained since she is also a tenant of Cleveland Plaza.
The landlord of Cleveland Plaza, Amy Liu, said that she is just doing the right thing for her tenants. There have been instances where people who needed to attend the Cleveland Plaza businesses had to park across the street and walk their young children over.
"Not only that it is carrying a cost to maintain the parking lot, but also there are significant liabilities associated with the use of the parking lot. Our tenants have long been bothered by unauthorized vehicles parked on our parking lot," she explained. "For a long time, a good portion of the parking lot was taken by vehicles who were neither customers nor tenants of the Cleveland Plaza."