Crofton plans to tow away illegally parked trucks

February 16, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

For years, Crofton residents have complained about large trucks rumbling by their community on state Route 3, or using quiet residential streets as a shortcut from Bowie to Annapolis.

Now, they say they have a new problem: more and more trucks seem to be stopping. And the drivers are staying for days at a time, leaving their 18-wheel rigs parked at a local shopping center.

Crofton officials said they have ticketed the trucks, warned the drivers and contacted trucking companies. Now, police will start towing.

"The general rule of thumb is that once you tow one, that's it, the rest get the message," said Mark P. Marini, vice president of Crofton Plaza Inc., which owns the center at Route 3 and Davidsonville Road.

"We've tried tickets and warnings," Mr. Marini said. "I hoped that would shake some things up. But so far, they haven't got the message."

Members of the Crofton Civic Association, which administers TC special tax district and a five-member police force, said the community is not turning into a truck stop.

Just the same, some board members worried at a recent meeting that word had spread among truckers that Crofton is a good place to stop.

But Jordan L. Harding, Crofton's town manager, said he believes the truck drivers live in the area and use the lot to park their trucks because the rigs are forbidden on residential streets.

"It's been going on for a long time, but two weeks ago we saw three of them park there," Mr. Harding said. "We started to look into it. No one told the drivers they could park there, so we started to write tickets."

Mr. Marini said he believes his lot was chosen because it is large and has easy access to Route 3. At first, the trucks were parking near an entrance on Davidsonville Road, near the Drug Emporium, which also serves as a main entrance for Crofton residents.

They have now moved closer to Route 3 behind several stores, but still visible from the road and entrance. It is not a sight Mr. Marini wants his customers to see. Several businesses have complained, he said.

"It is annoying to some of our tenants," said Mr. Marini, explaining that signs posted throughout the lot clearly limit all parking to customers only and impose a three-hour limit.

He said when he approached two of the three truck drivers last week, they told him they had permission. "That is not true," he said.

Mr. Marini has written several letters to the community association giving the Crofton Police Department full authority to ticket and tow any vehicle that violates the rules.

There was a delay in signing a contract with a local towing company, but Mr. Marini said it has been straightened out and he expects towing to commence this week.

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