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City of St. Pete makes changes to fix Rays parking problems | News

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City of St. Pete makes changes to fix Rays parking problems
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St. petersburg, Florida-- The city of St. Petersburg is making some changes after more than a dozen cars were towed outside Tropicana Field on Opening Day.

Fans had to pay $100 to get their cars back and a loophole in the city code allowed it to happen.

"It's an unpleasant surprise to find you car is gone," said Mike Johnson, whose black Mini Cooper was among the cars towed from a lot near 1st Avenue North and 15th Street.

The lot had an official event parking sign posted.

But it turns out the building owner claims he had no idea cars were being parked there, and when he found out, he ordered them towed.

The problem appears to stem from the city allowing a tenant to get a permit without the owner ever knowing about it.

"This is just one of those things that was bound to happen.  It was just a matter of when," Johnson said.

Several city agencies met Thursday morning behind closed doors to discuss making some changes.

Starting immediately the city will contact all 100 parking lot permit holders to make sure they still want to park cars this season.

Staff will begin with the 7 to 10 in tenant's names, not owner's names.

Instead of a one-time $200 fee currently needed  to get an event permit, they also want to require a yearly registration fee to get one, in hopes of better tracking who parks cars.

"We feel bad.  We feel this shouldn't have happened," said Evan Mory, Parking Manager for the city, "I'm confident this will solve the issue from Opening Day."

St. Pete police are investigating the Opening Day incident to figure out who was taking money from cars at the vacant business.

The city also plans to give all the victims tickets to a future Rays game.

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