City Committee Votes to Regulate Private Parking Business; 2,000 Spaces Activated by UPP

Two Signs The Committee Liked  Initially.

Two Signs The Committee Liked Initially.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,439)

A city committee voted tonight to recommend to the Portland City Council that it support an amended ordinance that would regulate private parking management companies in the City of Portland. Up to this time, the city has not required any licensing or regulation of the business because private parking has not been an issue in Portland previously.  The City Council is expected to consider the ordinance at a November meeting.

However, some complaints of the new to Portland “booting” practice of Unified Parking Partners, (“UPP”) on private lots, caught the attention of local presses who ran with the story – culminating in the city’s obligation to review the matter and consider regulating the business.  According to Dan McNutt, President of UPP, “We will comply with what the city wants.  The ordinance would not lead us to make any changes because we are in compliance with it.”

Danielle P. West-Chuhta, Corporation Counsel, told the members of the Portland Transportation, Sustainability & Energy Committee yesterday she does not recommend that a cap be placed on the amount the company can charge for unbooting a vehicle. She also did not recommend a licensing fee for the business. The primary reason for a licensing fee is to insure that the company provide proof of liability insurance and that background checks be conducted on employees – with which they comply.

Details on the sizes, number and content of signs at each private parking lot are being worked out by city staff and UPP.

UPU has 170 employees in Portland.  They run private parking lots from Thompson’s Point to the Portland Company in Portland.  The company also operates in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Councilor Justin Costa said:  “This is a good step.  I’m glad to see we are getting more efficient about opening up parking spaces in the city.”