Updated: Oct. 6, 5:03 pm.
After seeing twelve scooters towed at once, Sydney Hughes is on constant alert of being towed herself.
Hughes lives at The Grove, an apartment complex located at Southwest 37th Street, constructed last year.
Due to a lack of parking spaces, residents often park illegally.
“There are over 600 residents and only around 300 parking spots,” said Ben Tobias, spokesperson for Gainesville Police Department.
Since the beginning of this school year, over 100 vehicles have been ticketed, and 31 vehicles have been towed, Tobias said.
Tobias said the illegal parking is a result of The Grove advising residents to park in areas that aren’t part of its property, but rather city maintenance spots or bike trails.
Said Hughes: “A lot of people are angry and frustrated, and end up parking in front of no parking signs. I don’t blame them. If I couldn’t find a spot, I would do the same.”
GPD became involved when a resident’s mother emailed Gainesville City Commissioner Craig Carter about the towing problem. While signs posted at The Grove warn of the possibility of roam towing by Ultimate Towing of Gainesville Inc., Stephen O’Grady, president and owner of the company, denies that is the case.
“My company has used great restraint and not towed ANY cars that we were not expressly and directly asked by the Police, Fire Department or management to tow.,” O’Grady said in an e-mail to WUFT. “We have not engaged in ANY roam towing since the parking problem became evident at the beginning of the semester.”
The mother, Jennifer Link, explained in her email that because the students cannot park in the advised spots, her son and other residents are illegally parking.
Others have echoed Link’s concerns.
“A couple weeks ago, me and my brother tried to park here at night and there weren’t any parking spaces available,” said Ryan Wagner, a UF economics student and The Grove resident. “So, we just parked in any space we could find on the fourth floor of the parking garage, and the next day he got towed and we had to pay a $144 towing ticket,”
Residents say the complex has offered incentives to residents to park in a lot that is farther away, but for many, that’s too inconvenient.
“They sent an email offering the perk of a month off of rent the next year,” Wagner said. “I’m not interested because I live on the very far side of the building, but it might be better for someone who lives in a building closer [to the parking lot].”
While towing is an issue, residents also have complaints about the illegal parking.
“There will be cars piled up, and sometimes it’s hard to maneuver around the parking lot because there’s just so many cars that are illegally parked,” Hughes said.
“I’ve been in the office before and there’s so many people yelling at the front desk about how there’s no parking and my issue is side-stepped.”
The Grove management could not be reached for comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that only 31 vehicles have been towed since the beginning of the semester. The previous version incorrectly stated that over 100 vehicles have been towed since the beginning of the semester.