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Harrisburg businesses charging for public parking

HARRISBURG, Pa. ⁠— The Great American Outdoor Show draws thousands to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Whenever there’s a big event in the complex, som...

HARRISBURG, Pa. ⁠— The Great American Outdoor Show draws thousands to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Whenever there's a big event in the complex, some nearby businesses charge for parking on their property. Knowingly or not, they also sometimes charge for parking in public spots.

A man who parked in what he believed was a free spot on Julia St. returned from the show to find an empty spot. A business owner charging for parking next to his property had the man's car towed.

However, the spot was on a public street.

Harrisburg businesses charging for public parking

"I think we had a misunderstanding... where business owners were charging for parking that was not theirs. It was actually part of the public right-of-way," said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Pappenfuse.

This case isn`t the first parking misunderstanding on Julia St., where several signs falsely mark spots as tow-away zones and one former business owner installed several handicap signs without city permission.

It`s unclear if the towing company that took the car, Leahy`s Towing, knew the spot was public. When FOX43 called the company for comment, they hung up.

"I think there was some confusion. I`m sorry," Mayor Pappenfuse said. "I personally apologize for the people that have come to the Outdoor Show and were wrongly charged for parking."

Chuck Farrell, the business owner who had the car towed, said he had a license to charge for parking, and a police officer told him he could charge for those spots. When he found out they were public, he paid the towing company to return the car.

Mayor Pappenfuse said he spoke with the city police department about the error, and will work to continually educate both police and business owners on parking laws.

"Just something that`s going to require constant dialogue and constant communication," he said.

The unenforceable handicap signs are still posted on the building now owned by Farrell. He said he hasn`t gotten a chance to take them down since he bought the property six months ago.