NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The North Myrtle Beach City Council voted in favor of changing its current towing ordinance to help put a stop predatory towing.
Leaders passed the second and final reading of the new towing ordinance during their meeting on Monday night.
City councilmembers received multiple complaints from residents about being towed when they’re legally parked.
“It got towed. I had to leave my three-year-old granddaughter and my six-month-old grandbaby sitting in the rain while I went to go hunt for my car,” said Cherry Grove property owner Mike O’Brien. “I wouldn’t had mind if it was towed legally. But it wasn’t."
The new ordinance states that if a wrecker is towing a person’s vehicle without their knowledge, then a police officer and the private property owner or agent of record must first be called to the location.
After the police officer has determined that the tow is legit, the property owner or agent of record must provide a wet ink signature, before the towing process can move forward.
Some tow companies are in favor of the new ordinance, including James Gause who owns Gause’s Towing and Recovery.
“For the locals, who believe this change is not needed, they’re not the ones affected by predatory towing. It’s very convenient to have someone come out and take a vehicle without proper documentation to do what they’re supposed to do. Because we have this type of problem in the city, we need to clean it up,” Gause said.
But others, like Richard Pate, the owner of Coastline Towing, have expressed concerns about the delaying the towing process since police and property owners will have to be called to the scene.
“The director says they’ll be there in three to four minutes. We just don’t feel like that’s going to happen,” said Pate. “Plus, it’s going to put a burden on the homeowners, HOA, the condo and motel people cause they’re going to have to hire somebody to watch their lot now. That’s what we use to do for them. I don’t know how this is going to turn out.”
It will go into effect on Nov. 1 in order to give everyone time to prepare for enforcement.
Councilmembers said they have the right to revisit the ordinance in the future if parts of it need to be changed.