HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Parking spaces are prime real estate in some portions of Huntsville. The limited space ignited a turf war in Five Points. Some businesses there can't seem to play nice with each other. A restaurant manager called WHNT NEWS 19 when another business manager towed away his employee's car.
Kelvin Wang told WHNT NEWS 19 his employee had to pay big bucks to get her car back. Wang and the car owner believe the car should not have been towed. The person who called the towing company told WHNT NEWS 19 he had every right to get rid of the car. He says the parking lot used by the public is private.
Wang noticed a growing problem in the Five Points area of Huntsville.
"There's been a lot of issues here lately with customers parking around the Five Points community and business owners around the area coming out to them being rude," said Restaurant Manager Wang.
Wang gets fired up talking about the situation. Wang says the manager of the Twilight Zone Tobacco Shop had his employee's car towed.
"It was in this spot right here, in which we considered it to be a public, a communal parking area," added Wang.
"That morning, there was no available parking. This was full. That was full. This area was full, too. I didn't have anywhere to park. I had to come to work you know," said Car Owner Rainy Rattanapan.
WHNT NEWS 19 heard from a couple of people who saw our news crew interviewing Rattanapan and Wang. They told WHNT NEWS 19 the tobacco shop manager told Rattanapan she could not park there.
"The parking lot has no signs. They are only at Family Dollar. I thought it was fine," added Rattanapan.
The minimum wage worker is stuck with a $180 towing bill.
"I have to work 2-3 days for that, day and night, day and night," added Rattanapan.
The tobacco shop's manager is not fazed. He told me WHNT NEWS 19 he rents the property from someone, so the space outside his store and the nearby Family Dollar is private.
"It's very simple. We rent it from him. We have the contract from him," said the shop's manager.
WHNT NEWS 19 asked to see the contract. The shop's manager refused to show it.
WHNT NEWS 19 did some digging to check the manager's story. Huntsville's Parking and Public Transit Department told WHNT NEWS 19 Rattanapan did park on private property.
One thing still needs to be addressed.
"We don`t see any signs around this area which says this is a private parking area," added Wang.
WHNT NEWS 19 took Wang's concern back to the shop manager.
The property owner told WHNT NEWS 19 he did not give the tenants a contract to enforce the parking. The owner says anybody can park in the lot.
The shop's manager said, "If you bring Jonathan Giles here, we can talk about it. Other than that, there is nothing to say. I have nothing to say."
WHNT NEWS 19 asked several lawyers in town if signs needed to be installed to help people understand where they are parking. None could give a clear answer. WHNT NEWS 19 talked with the shop's manager hours before the report aired. The shop's manager said he's open to installing signs if the property owner pays for them.