As the city of Gastonia gets bigger, parking availability dwindles

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GASTONIA, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – As the City of Gastonia continues to grow, residents continue to complain about the lack of parking. With less parking, comes a surplus of towing and booting, but the City Council has updated an ordinance to help residents avoid that. 

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In their most recent version of the towing ordinance, towing companies cannot boot vehicles between 7 pm-7 am unless they received written approval from the property owner. 

But huge fines are still impacting residents who park where they’re not supposed to. David Hamilton parked his 18-wheeler in the lot of an abandoned Auto Bell, and it was towed just hours later. 

Hardin’s Affordable Towing, the company contracted with the property owner, booted the truck and hauled it off to their tow yard.

“Where did you go to justify charging $5,000?” Hamilton asked the tow company. 

He had to pay $5,500 to get his truck back from Hardin’s, but employees there say their rates are fair.

“It cost us like $2,500 to have it removed off the property when using the big rig. So I mean, it’s just, that’s just the fees, what cost us $2,500 to have 18 Wheeler hauled off,” an employee at Hardin’s told FOX 46.

When FOX 46 asked the employee where those costs are accrued they said it was the cost of labor and contracting a larger rig to come pick up the 18-wheeler.

“Everybody’s gonna complain about the price, but we just got a job to do. There’s no in between that, you know, everybody wants to stay how much it is to for a tow, but they’re not understanding due to that type of vehicle. It costs, it costs a lot. And it’s a lot to do to remove that vehicle off the property.”

Hardin’s Affordable Towing employees complained about the new City Council Ordinance regarding booting. They say the Council and Police are making it more and more difficult for property owners to get illegally parked vehicles off their property. 

“I’m not the bad guy I got a job to do, you know? And like I say, that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Nevertheless, Hamilton is struggling to recover after the $5,500 he took. 

“There’s just limited parking in Gastonia. So this can happen to anybody, whether it be a car, a vehicle, it if you go and get your car impounded, and you can’t get it out. And that’s the only way you have to get your kids around. You’re in a tough, tight situation,” Hamilton said. 

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