Avon approves new car booting laws | VailDaily.com

Avon approves new car booting laws

Lauren Glendenning
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – The town of Avon officially gave private car booting companies and property owners the right to boot cars Tuesday, but some of the property owners and businesses think the town’s ordinance will only hurt them in the long run.

Nick Antuna, owner of AAA Boot, said three of his six clients in Avon have already fired him because they think they’ll be criminally prosecuted under Avon’s new booting ordinance. Antuna’s company is currently the only private company that has been booting in the problem parking residential areas in Avon.-

Antuna told council members during the public hearing Tuesday he was worried the ordinance would hurt his business.-

The town’s opinion was that the ordinance would “empower private owners of parking lots to enforce their parking rules,” said Mayor Ron Wolfe.

“This is a good thing,” Wolfe said. “You can now do what you want to do, legally.”

Councilman Brian Sipes said the town isn’t in the business of writing ordinances with the intent to help specific businesses, nor should it be in that business.-

“We’re trying to find something that balances both sides of the issue to allow this to occur and to allow it to occur fairly,” Sipes said. “We have to decide what is fair to every citizen in the town.”

The ordinance outlines several new guidelines that property owners and booting companies would have to follow, including a license from the town, licensing fees, criminal background checks, maximum fees the companies can charge and other rules. The reason the town wrote the ordinance is to give people due process should they dispute a boot on their cars, said Town Attorney Eric Heil.

State laws don’t clearly define whether private car booting is considered criminal tampering, and other states are all across the board with booting laws, Heil said.

Avon Municipal Judge Buck Allen told council that without an ordinance like the one they approved, booting companies would be subject to felony charges of criminal tampering. The ordinance would give those companies the right to immobilize cars – with that power or right, Allen said, comes rules and regulations.-

David Smith, an attorney from Glenwood Springs who represents several property owners and property associations, told council members he was concerned the ordinance was turning a civil matter into a criminal matter. He said the town should keep the regulation as a licensing ordinance and let the courts decide whether anything criminal happens.

“Let the civil justice system take its course,” he said. “I think the aims of the ordinance will be better served than they are now.”

The town council approved the ordinance with a 4-1 vote – councilman Buz Reynolds voted no and councilwoman Kristi Ferraro was absent.

Councilman Richard Carroll tried to reassure those at the meeting who were concerned that changes to the ordinance could be made later if the ordinance “isn’t perfect,” he said.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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