Drivers find that parking at Prairie Fire can lead to a costly tow

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The new Prairie Fire development in Overland Park already has some very unhappy customers. Dozens of people have been towed from parking spots meant for residents of the Prairie Fire apartments.

But as FOX 4’s Macradee Aegerter found on Wednesday, some spots aren’t clearly marked and have very costly consequences.

At 135th and Roe you can see one of only two signs in what is a very large Prairie Fire apartment complex parking lot, alerting people that it is a tow away zone for unauthorized cars.

And if you miss this sign, and park in the unmarked spots just yards away from all of the new attractions, it could cost you more than $200. Many people have already learned the hard way.

It’s a short distance from the apartment complex parking lot to the restaurants, museum, bowling alley and other attractions in the same development. But as visitor Bill Grammer learned, the unmarked parking spots outside the developments leasing office are not for customers trying out the new businesses for the night.

"It’s hard to be angry when you're dealing with stupidity," said Grammer.

Grammer said last Friday night he parked there with a friend, walked to get a cup of ice cream, and when he returned his car was gone.

"I see a tow truck up at the end, run up there they said, ‘well, we just towed it off,’" Grammer said.

On one of only two tow away signs FOX 4 could find in the entire complex has the business Pro -Tow listed. Grammer said after finding a ride home, he called and learned what he'd be charged when he picked the car up the next day, $266.

"I have a credit card and they said, ‘no, cash only,’" Grammer said Pro-Tow told him when he went to pick up his car.

According to apartment residents, the towing started just last Friday after some complained about the lack of parking due to those shopping and dining.

"I said, ‘well how many people got towed?’  She said 15 people that night. So 15 people times roughly $300, that’s about $4,500 in tow fees," said Grammer.

"It’s full with residents.  I mean we all live here.  We pay to live here,” said Prairie Fire apartment’s resident Jordyn Smith.

But Grammer says the area isn’t clearly marked and the tow drivers are taking advantage of unsuspecting shoppers and diners.

"They are just waiting.  They probably wish there had been 30 cars to tow.  I mean they are operating on no rules and free reign.  They can do whatever they want to do," Grammer said.

The apartment's management office and Pro-Tow were closed Wednesday night when we called for comment. According to Overland Park city ordinance, a tow away notice sign must be displayed at each public driveway access, something we didn’t find at Prairie Fire apartments.

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  • Jason

    I live in the apartments here and think the new tow policy is completely unthought-out. This affects us as residents too. We aren’t allowed to have friends or family visit and absolutely no resident input was solicited before the decision was made. The parking lot has never been completely full and now at its max it’s maybe 30% filled. There were many other less drastic options that could have been implemented and there was no communication to the residents as to why there was such a rush to implement this policy, other options that management considered and why each of those fell short.

  • Ben

    The best way to solve the problem is for everyone to boycott Prairie Fire and all the businesses around there. Let them worry about the towing job the city is doing. OP apparently is running short on operating costs and needs to generate some new revenue.

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