Group considers issues of towing

By Paul Wagner

Establishing a flat rate to recover towed vehicles was one of the issues discussed Thursday by about 10 DeKalb townhouse residents and the DeKalb Tenant Union.

Sixth Ward Alderman Steven Brody and the owners of Colonial and Old Orchard Townhouses, 1004 West Lincoln Highway, James Mason and Herbert Katz, were invited to discuss towing issues, which the City Council will vote on March 23, with tenants, but did not show up.

Brody said he only received two days notice prior to the meeting and could not attend because of another commitment. Mason and Katz could not be reached for comment Thursday.

One of the major issues discussed by the residents was a flat rate to be charged to the owners of towed cars. Tenant Union Director Carey Ward said towing rates now are determined by the towing company and can range between $25 and $70.

Brody said he favored a flat rate, but felt the $35 rate requested at the last council meeting was too low. He said the city should not leave itself open to the charge of regulating the towing companies out of business. He said the rate should be in the range of $40 to $45.

Another issue discussed by the committee was legislation that would force towing companies to remain open 24 hours, seven days a week so owners of towed cars could get their cars back at any time. The council has not decided whether a $10 fee should be charged for owners who pick up their cars after midnight.

Ward said he opposed the $10 fee because cars could be towed as late as 11:30, and the person would be unable to pick up the car before midnight. He suggested raising the flat rate to $40 without the extra charge as a compromise.

Brody said he favored legislation to keep the towing companies open 24 hours, but he supported the extra fee because the flat rate was so low. He said he would oppose the extra fee if the flat rate were raised.

The residents also discussed towing issues regarding their landlords. The group favored both stickers and assigned parking spaces, meaning the resident must have a sticker and must park in his assigned space. The tenants opposed “towing patrols,” which tow cars for parking in the wrong space without a complaint from the owner of the space.