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'Boots' on parked cars removed by shopping center after town complains

Oyster Bay officials said such booting by private companies is not allowed under town law, and Broadway Commons in Hicksville vows to disallow tows until the parking issue is resolved.

More than 50 vehicles were booted Monday and Tuesday for illegal parking in the private lot owned by Broadway Commons shopping center, Oyster Bay Town officials said. The booting occurred as the town prepared to close its parking garage near the Hicksville LIRR station for about three months of repairs. (Credit: Newsday / David Olson)

Management of the Broadway Commons shopping center near the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station has agreed to stop booting cars that allegedlyhave parked illegally in the center’s lot.

More than 50 cars were booted Monday and Tuesday, town spokesman Brian Nevin said.

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said town officials on Tuesday “let them [mall manager Broadway Management] know that we did not feel their actions were the actions of good corporate neighbors.”

Signs in southern parts of the lot closest to the LIRR station warn there is “no commuter parking” and that parking is only for Broadway Commons customers. The sign notes a “$150 boot release fee” — even though private companies are barred by town law from booting cars.

The boots are clamps that are put on wheels to prevent vehicles from being moved.

The towing company contracted by Broadway Management, AAAA-1, took the boots off cars that were disabled Tuesday morning, said the owner of the company, Mike, who declined to provide his last name. AAAA-1 will, upon request, refund the fee paid by anyone whose car was booted, he said.

Saladino said the boot fee exceeds the $95 maximum tow charge allowed under town law and said no-parking signs in the shopping center lot must reflect that law. The town also allows a fee of up to $35 for the use of towing equipment.

Broadway Management marketing director Amaka Oweazim said the company will no longer boot vehicles. She said Broadway Management has a right to regulate its lot, but will not allow towing “until further conversations have been had with the town” on how to resolve the parking issue.

Nearly 500 commuters park in the shopping center lot each day, taking away spaces from Broadway Commons tenants, Oweazim said. In June, the company began placing notices on cars, warning that LIRR commuters using the lot would be subject to towing or booting, she said.

Mike, of AAAA-1, said the company had notified the town a month ago that it planned to start booting cars, and “the town clerk’s office said that we were legally allowed to boot.”

Nevin said, “That’s completely untrue.”

Broadway Commons is not the only lot with private-tow fees above the maximum allowed by law. Other lots within a few blocks of the shopping center have fees ranging from $152 to $225, according to posted signs.

Nevin denied in an email that the town is not enforcing its tow-fee law and said code-enforcement employees would visit properties with fees above the town limit.

The booting occurred as the town prepared to close its parking garage south of the Hicksville LIRR station on Wednesday for about three months of repairs. Parking for residents with town parking permits will be available — with shuttle service to the LIRR station during morning and afternoon rush hours — in the lot of the shuttered Sears store across from Broadway Commons.

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