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Wheel locks now legal in Sylva

fr wheellocksSylva’s parking rules now have a stronger set of teeth with the passage of an ordinance allowing officers to put wheel locks, also called parking boots, on cars whose owners have accrued unpaid town parking tickets. 

Town commissioners first started tossing the idea around in November, when Sylva Police Chief David Woodard brought it to their attention that the town had issued more than $7,500 worth of unpaid parking tickets since 2011. Many of the recipients of those tickets had outright told police that they were not going to pay them.

“They’ve told some of our staff that they don’t have any intentions of paying them and we can’t collect, but I think we can,” said Mayor Maurice Moody. 

No one spoke against the ordinance at a public hearing preceding the vote.

“What this draft ordinance spells out is if someone has a delinquent ticket that’s been delinquent for 90 days, it allows the police department to place a wheel lock on their vehicle,” explained Town Manager Paige Dowling. 

To have the boot removed, the vehicle owner would have to pay all outstanding fines as well as a $25 boot fee. If the money isn’t paid within 24 hours of the wheel lock being attached, then police can have the vehicle towed and impounded at any private lot. The owner would then have to pay towing and impoundment fees as well as outstanding fines and the boot fee. 

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“This is just a method to enforce the payment of those fines,” Moody said. 

Commissioners passed the ordinance unanimously and without discussion. 

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