Decision Looms Over Booting Vehicles in Private Parking Lots

The state of Texas no longer regulates booting on private property

A new controversy has erupted over booting vehicles on private parking lots in North Texas.

In Haltom City, a popular restaurant called A&D Buffalo's on East Belknap Street runs out of parking spaces in its own lot at lunchtime.

There's a big, empty parking lot right next door, where restaurant owner Scott Kim has posted signs to warn customers that they might get towed if they park there.

"This property is not mine"” Kim said. "You might be towed, that's why I put it up."

The new twist is that restaurant customer cars have been getting booted, instead of towed, by a company called Texas Parking Enforcement.

Facebook photos posted last week showed official looking logos on a company car with a label that said "booting division."

People whose cars were booted were charged $100 to get the boot removed. The Facebook photos showed four cars booted last Wednesday.

A person who answered the company's phone said booting is better than towing because it costs less and the car is not physically removed from the location.

Haltom City police are not convinced about the advantages of booting on private property.

"With the booting, it creates a confrontation, an automatic confrontation," Haltom City police Capt. Steve Irvin said.

Irvin said the state of Texas regulated private parking lot booting in the past, but did not anymore.

"So now it's up to local municipalities as far as specifics on how to handle that," Irvin said.

The restaurant owner said he tried to lease spaces from the neighboring parking lot owner, but the price was too high.

Customer William Currie sat in his truck as his girlfriend went into the restaurant to pick up food at lunchtime Tuesday, rather than leaving his vehicle with a chance to get booted.

"I don't like if very much, because we're just trying to go in and get something to eat, you know," Currie said.

Officials in neighboring Fort Worth said the city also did not have regulations about booting cars on private property.

Irvin said Haltom City was considering whether to set booting rates and other regulations, or possibly ban private booting in the city.

"It's something that we're definitely going to be addressing," Irvin said.

In the meantime, it is wise for drivers to pay attention to warning signs against parking on private property.

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