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Emily Welker and Erik Burgess, Published January 30 2013

50 vehicles towed from Moorhead's new snow zones near campus areas

MOORHEAD – Fifty vehicles near Moorhead’s two universities have been towed after their owners left them parked in the city’s “Snow Zone” while plows were trying to clear streets.

Night officers placed warning tickets on more than 100 cars late Tuesday night letting owners know the cars would be towed if they weren’t moved by 8 this morning, said Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson.

He estimated that about two dozen vehicles had been towed by about noon, with 50 to 60 cars still parked illegally. By nearly 4 p.m., Jacobson said in a news release, 50 vehicles were towed. See a map of the "Snow Zone" here.

“It’s a new thing, we understand, there’s a learning curve,” said Jacobson, who added the department tried to publicize the city’s snow declaration with media reports and campus security announcements in advance of enforcing the new rules.

Ed's Towing in Moorhead holds the contract for towing for the city. By 3:00 p.m., owner Nick Grossman said they had already towed around 40 vehicles near the campuses, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College. MSUM was the main offender so far, he said.

"And there's still a good 30 to 40 cars over on one street," he said.

It's around 90 dollars to pull your car from the slammer, Grossman said.

Grossman has four of his seven full-time drivers working just at the campuses, attempting to clear the streets so they can be plowed. He said it takes a driver about 40 to 50 minutes to tow one car.

Vehicles are towed to the city's impound lot on Highway 75 and 15th Avenue North.

Jacobson said a $10 per day storage fee is charged if the vehicle isn't removed promptly, but he said typically they don't charge for the day after the vehicle was impounded.

He said the number of cars towed was certainly much higher than he anticipated.

"It's a new thing so we understand, but it's unfortunate that these people have been inconvenienced and the staff has been loaded down," Jacobson said. "It's a slow process and public works can't clear the streets until these cars are out of there."

The regulations, which are in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., only applied to the north and east sides of streets today, in front of houses with even-numbered addresses.

Tomorrow, they'll be effective on the opposite side or roads, in front of houses with odd-numbered addresses.

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