The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Council approves towing ordinance
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
Trespass towing rates in Fredericksburg will increase to $100, plus a $25 fee for tows that occur on weekends and holidays and $30 per day for storage after the first 24 hours a vehicle is held.
The Fredericksburg City Council approved the new rates on second reading at a meeting Tuesday night.
Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw abstained from the discussion and the vote because she received an $1,800 campaign contribution from a towing company in Fredericksburg. While there is no legal prohibition on a council member voting on issues benefiting someone who contributed to his or her campaign, Greenlaw said she wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict.
Councilman Matt Kelly voted against the new rates.
Councilman George Solley was on a business trip and absent from the meeting.
The council discussed the new rates in detail during the work session prior to the regular meeting.
The other two aspects of the towing ordinance that the council discussed were in regard to signage and damage to vehicles during the towing process.
There was discussion of whether lots that have frequent tows have the proper signage. The council approved as part of the ordinance that the police chief or his designee may require additional signage in writing when certain conditions exist for a parking lot.
The council also approved adding the non-emergency phone number for the police department and the phone number for the Virginia Board of Towing & Recovery Operators to the information posted at the storage facility for consumers to call if they have a complaint.
Kelly said he voted against the rate increase because he felt that the $130 rate (the maximum towing rate plus the storage fee after 24 hours) was sufficient and he was opposed to the additional $25 fee.
The council also agreed that the policy should be reviewed every two years to avoid another long stretch without review. The current maximum rate for trespass towing is $65. That rate has been in effect since 2003.
The council also approved granting a special-use permit to the University of Mary Washington Foundation to build a parking lot at 1213–1215 and 1217 Thornton St., and granted a special exception for it to have less than the required amount of landscaping.
The council also approved the final plans for the consolidation and re-subdivision of Amelia Square to create 23 individual parcels for 20 luxury townhomes.
Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413