The Snellville City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance Monday night to regulate booting within its city limits. It stems from a fight among adjacent shopping centers along Scenic Highway.
Few people who visit the strip mall know the two halves have separate owners. Ajay Singadia, who owns not only Barron’s Fine Jewelry but also Barron’s Plaza, is tired of customers from the adjoining center taking up the spaces for his and his tenants’ customers.
“All of my tenants have told me since the shopping center has implemented the booting, business is flourishing again,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
>>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW.
The booting began three months ago, with towing before that. But he says they’ve been dealing with the problem for years after First Watch opened its restaurant in the adjacent Pharrs Village. Customers of the restaurant, who find it difficult to park, end up driving around to his side to park.
“There’s nobody whose profiting by this—actually we’re all getting hurt by it,” says Singadia referring to the negative publicity and comments he’s received.
But he and the Snellville City Council admit it’s the customers who frequent both ends of the strip mall who are especially being hurt.
“We’ve had complaints from people who pull in (and) don’t know; nobody comes out and says ‘you can’t park here’. That is predatory booting and it’s going to stop--I guarantee you that,” says city councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dave Emmanuel.
He says while the city can’t ban booting, the ordinance requires representatives of the booting company to wear uniforms, warn parking violators in-person first, cap fees at $75, and require clear signage.
The latter is already in place around Barron’s Plaza which quickly caught the eye of Eric McNeal.
“The signs are to first bring awareness because now you’re going to be accosted and told, ‘You shouldn’t park here or I’m going to boot your vehicle’,” he says.
His wife Lolita wonders what will happen if you want to visit a store or restaurant on one side and then need to go to another business on the other side.
“You may want Moe’s and your children may want Panda (Express). Do you have to get back in the car and move? I just think it’s an inconvenience for the consumer,” she says.
Singadia admits it is a difficult situation for all involved and wants to work out a solution with First Watch, but so far the restaurant hasn’t come to the table. Its corporate office declined to comment for the story.
“They want to have the business, but they don’t want to have the parking for them,” he says.