DES MOINES, Iowa -- The owner of a Beaverdale pub is trying to end a parking lot turf war after some of his patrons were stuck with nearly $1,000 in towing fees.
Three months ago, Clark Way opened The Dam Pub and looked to bring something new to the century-old Beaverdale neighborhood.
"Everyone was excited to have something new brought into the neighborhood. Hopefully we are meeting expectations or exceeding expectations," Way said.
On Feb. 7, customers eating their specialty burgers and pizzas at The Dam Pub were stuck with more than just a bar tab. "Vista Property Management took it upon themselves at 6:15 p.m. on a Friday night to tow five cars out of the parking lot when it was basically empty," said Way.
Initial blame was put on O'Donnell Ace Hardware, but Vista Property Management in Urbandale owns the lot across the street. Large signs alert drivers that parking is for Beaverdale Place businesses only, which The Dam Pub is not.
"Once again, that is not our parking lot. Ultimately, it is Vista's parking lot, and they will do what they want to do," Way said.
With the exception of Ace Hardware, Curbin' Cuisine and Celebration Coffee, the other businesses are typically closed by 6 p.m. at the latest, with The Dam Pub open until 2 a.m. Way said, "They waited until everybody had crossed the street. They watched them cross the street and brought in a tow company and towed all five cars to the tune of $150 a car."
Beaverdale Neighborhood Association President CeCe Ibson says it's a problem they are working on, but it points to something positive. "It's a good problem to have. We have people coming in from outside the neighborhood to see our businesses and our stores here."
Way says he has made attempts with Vista Property Management so those not within walking distance could use some of the spots. "I've offered to pay the insurance and leasing prices to help offset some parking lot expenses and we've been turned down for that as well," said Way.
Beaverdale celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. They've come a long way since residents took trolleys through the neighborhood. With the parking issue, they say it's just something they will have to navigate through again.
"That says something about Beaverdale and what we are doing here and folks are coming from other communities to enjoy what we experience everyday, but we are going to have to make some accommodations and figure out how to make it all work," said Ibson.
Street parking is readily available in the area. Way has offered to reimburse any customers towed that night with a gift card.
Vista Property Management was unavailable for comment.