FORT WORTH, Texas - Customers of a Fort Worth shopping district are up in arms over a strict parking policy.
Several customers say the policy is so tough that parking attendants will follow customers to make sure they go to the right store.
A quick social media search and you'll quickly find people sharing their stories of parking in one of the garages at Crockett Row only to come back and find their car is towed away.
One woman went so far to write a letter to the mayor. It's after she says her car was towed after only about seven minutes and had to pay almost $300 to get it back.
Fran Williams was parked at one of the five garages that are part of the Crockett Row Shopping Development. She was there with her daughter, Victoria, to celebrate her sixteenth birthday a couple weeks ago. Signs say the parking is meant for customers of Crockett Row merchants.
“There was a parking attendant,” Williams recalled. “He told us that we would have to visit one of the merchants on the list, and we agreed.”
The family says they were headed to one of the merchants but popped in to Steel City Pops first. They grabbed a popsicle and then stepped outside.
“We saw my car being towed away,” Williams said. “And I didn't really think it was my car because it had only been in there for seven minutes.”
Max Holderby is the general manager of Vestar, the company that manages Crockett Row. He says they changed the parking policy in April. Now, garages are exclusively for customers of Crockett Row businesses. Customers must go straight there without detours. He has parking attendants “watching” and “following” to make sure people go to the right spot.
“They have to follow them because, again, that's the only way we can control to make sure we are correct in towing somebody that is not our customer,” he explained.
Holderby says the change came because too many other businesses don't have parking and were filling up Crockett Row's spots.
“Our merchants have been penalized because we don't always have parking for them because we have been providing it for the other bars,” he said. “I would love for this problem to go away. I would love for some parking places just to fall out of the sky.”
The Williams thought they were following the rules. Now, they hope this doesn't happen to anyone else.
“Maybe technically they are not doing anything wrong here,” Williams said. “But they are not doing anything right.”
Holderby is also on the cultural district alliance. He says it is working with Fort Worth schools to see if there can be an agreement to let people park at nearby Farrington Field and hopefully give people more places to park if they are not coming to one of the Crockett Row businesses.