News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 24, 2014

Board of Works notes towing rules

Board also pays bills, OK’s street closings for events

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute businessman is asking for tougher enforcement of the city’s non-consensual towing ordinance.

Bob Durr of Durr’s Towing asked several questions of the Terre Haute Board of Public Works and Safety Monday, including what happens to companies that violate the city’s non-consensual towing ordinance, passed by the City Council more than a year ago.

“As a businessman I don’t understand this,” Durr told the five-person board meeting in City Hall. Several companies are conducting non-consensual towing in the city without a proper license, he said. He also questioned the effectiveness of fines imposed on companies in violation of the ordinance.

Only a handful [3] of companies towing in Terre Haute have a license to perform non-consensual towing, Durr said. Those three companies are Durr’s Towing, Mike’s Auto Wrecking and Towing and Andrews Towing, said Chou-il Lee, city attorney.

In January of last year, the City Council passed an ordinance regulating how much companies can charge to tow vehicles from parking lots when those vehicles are parked in violation of posted no-parking signs, a practice known as non-consensual towing. The ordinance also capped impound fees for vehicles that have been towed and sets minimum insurance requirements for companies engaged in non-consensual towing.

City attorney Lee told Durr to report to the city any violations of which he is aware. Enforcement of the ordinance is “complaint-driven,” he said, adding that complaints can be made using the city’s 311 call system.

Repeated violations of the terms of the non-consensual towing ordinance could result in a company losing its license to perform non-consensual towing in the city, Lee said.

• The board also approved an additional $21,000 in fees associated with improvements to the intersection of South Seventh Street and Davis Avenue.

The project, paid for largely with federal funds, was designed to improve the intersection, once one of the top intersections, under city jurisdiction, for accidents. The project has been completed, but the additional charges resulted from changes requested by the city, according to a letter from Burgess & Niple, the Indianapolis-based company submitting the additional charges for construction services.

• The board, whose members are appointed by the mayor, also approved short-term street closings for two upcoming festival events: The St. Benedict Catholic Church Community Festival, set for July 11 and 12, and the 2014 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, set for Sept. 13.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

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