Saturday, December 10, 2016, was an (unwanted) eventful day for unsuspecting Dollar Tree store Patrons. Many people have parked in what they thought was a common parking lot only to find their car towed. Most people are unaware that these businesses are largely separately owned properties with separately owned parking lots - in other words, this collection of businesses is unlike most shopping centers where there is common parking. The current result is that those who unwittingly park in the wrong spot are being towed, sometimes immediately upon parking. Don't let this happen to you!
It may simply not be worth it to shop at this Dollar Tree location, not unless you are lucky enough to find a parking space right in front of the store location, or being savvy enough to abide by the competing property rights of the neighboring businesses.
Above right - a tow removal in process, interrupted by the owner catching the tow truck driver before he could drive away.
Above left and right - views of the signage warning drivers of the tow-away zone.I spoke with many people who pulled in to go to the Dollar Tree. Not a single driver noticed the signs or realized where the property lines for the different stores began or ended. All would have been towed and faced hundreds of dollars in costs for the car towing along with the aggravation.
I was told that the driver of the truck (pictured in these photos) ended up negotiating an $80+ charge for the tow truck operator to "drop" his vehicle in place, returning it to him within the same parking lot, 'saving' him the time, inconvenience and additional expense of having to retrieve the vehicle from the tow company storage lot. I was told by bystanders (and the owner of the truck pictured in this event) that it makes no difference if there are people left in the vehicle (students in the case of the black truck), the tow trucks are still moving in on occupied, but parked vehicles, and picking them up for towing.
SPOTTER ENGAGED: It appears that a "spotter" is being employed to immediately identify any offenders and call in the tow trucks. Can you see the car (headlights on) parked in the lot (photo above left)? I was told by bystanders in this shopping plaza (frequent customers and employees of adjoining businesses) that the driver of this car acts as a "spotter" and calls in the tow trucks when an unsuspecting patron parks in an incorrect parking spot and walks into the Dollar Tree store.
The driver of this "spotter vehicle" did get out of his vehicle while the Palmetto Bay Policing Unit was on scene. He is pictured above (above right), wearing the long pants with the blue folder under tucked his left arm.
Above left and right - the alleged "spotter" moving his car when the witnesses in the parking lot brought out their camera phones to document the event - note that the license plate has been obscured as a courtesy to him.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the only example of what I consider to be an aggressive tow-away zone parking situation in Palmetto Bay.
This matter has been brought to the attention of our Palmetto Bay Village Manager and it will be brought before the entire Village Council for discussion. I asked those involved in the event on Sat, 12/10 to provide post event communication; providing additional details. It remains to be seen if they do follow up and contact me. I ask anyone else who has suffered similar experiences within Palmetto Bay to contact me via official e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, be careful and respectful where you park - especially if you are planning to shop at the Dollar Tree - even if you think you will be "in and out of the store" in "just a moment."
Please be careful where you park, both to be considerate of the property rights of business owners as well as to prevent yourself from falling victim to having your vehicle towed away. I also request that you pass on this information to your friends and neighbors.
Very truly yours,
Eugene Flinn, Mayor