20 Aug 2014
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Snowstorm Tows, Fees Stir Up Squall Among Lower Mac Residents

Lower Macungie Township residents shared their distress about having their cars towed last week during a snow emergency through the Patch Facebook page and at Monday's Board of Commissioners' meeting.

Snowstorm Tows, Fees Stir Up Squall Among Lower Mac Residents
The first major snowfall to hit the Lehigh Valley in 2014touched off a storm of another sort in Lower Macungie Township in the form of a tempest among distressed township residents whose cars were towed from various snow emergency routes throughout the township Friday night into Saturday. 

Many of those residents showed up at Monday night’s Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners’ meeting to voice their displeasure with the costly confiscation of their vehicles last weekend.

One of those residents – Deron Hockman – shared his concerns about the tow at the BOC meeting and through a private message on the Lower Macungie Patch Facebook page. Hockman, who lives in the Shepherd Hills town houses, says it cost him $400 to get his car back from Mechanics Plus, Upper Milford Township.

“They targeted our area because of complaints,” Hockman writes on Facebook. “Every road in our development is a snow emergency, so Lower Macungie wanted us to park our cars a mile away at the rec center.” 

However, Hockman explains, the only way for someone to know that the snow emergency parking restrictions had been implemented was to go on the township website, be on the township email list or visit the township Facebook page.

They don't have the capability of robo calls,” Hockman says, adding that the next morning when he went by the rec center, it appeared that no one had parked there.

They towed over 20 cars in our neighborhood and over 40 in the township,” Hockman writes, which is what motivated him to express his concerns with the situation at Monday’s commissioners meeting.

Robin Sattouf-Smith, who lives in Clearview Manor, contacted Lower Macungie Patch through a private Facebook message to share her experience with having her car towed during the storm and to complain about the excessive $399 fee she paid to get her car back.

Sattouf-Smith says she and her husband returned home around midnight Thursday along with their 2-year-old. Her husband's truck was able to handle the incline to their home with no problem, Sattouf-Smith explains, but her vehicle could not make it up the street no matter what they tried. Left with no choice, she writes, her husband parked her car on the main road of the development where many others were parked.

The next morning, Sattouf-Smith says, her car was gone and when she contacted the township, she was given the number of the towing company. “I called and they told me the fees and I almost dropped to the floor!! I asked what I was supposed to do if my car would not go up my street to my driveway and they claim I should have stood outside and called a tow truck to come tow us up the road 50 feet to my driveway. Seriously?! It was midnight!"

Sattouf-Smith plans to take up a grievance with the township. “They [the township] say they have no say in what they charge but seriously hire a company that you make a contract with that's not going to totally rob your residents. All that money right after Christmas killed me! But I didn't have a choice,” she writes.

Hockman is pleased to report that the commissioners listened to what he and his Lower Macungie neighbors had to say, assigning the matter to one of the BOC subcommittees for further exploration. 

“I am glad they would listen so we can get to a solution,” Hockman says. “I told them they need to put a parking lot at the bottom of Eagle Street at the park to take care of this problem.”

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