'Valets Gone Wild' premiers on Lower Greenville

If there is one constant in life around Lower Greenville, this is it - There is never enough parking for the bar patrons.

So it comes as no surprise to find the valet services will use whatever spaces they can grab - even if they have absolutely no legal right to use them - to park patron vehicles.

Combine that rule with the explosive growth in development eating up every empty field
in the area, and you have the the script for a great action movie - Valets Gone Wild.

Let's set the scene...

LeComte Development built three-story townhomes on 5700 LaVista behind the motorcycle shop. One of the five units - which faces Hope Street - has been sold. He is about to break ground on a larger property around the corner on 1900 Hope Street.

Each townhome has a ground level driveway to the front door, with a ramp starting at the curb.

But the townhome owner has been hitting a minor roadblock to selling the other four units. Prospective buyers would drive by at night and see all these cars parked in the driveways and even on the street in front of the driveways.

The vehicles were parked there by First Impressions Valet Service, working across the street in a tiny parking lot owned by The Beagle. The valets had no problem using the public right of way (the street) to park patron vehicles and absolutely no problem parking cars in the private driveways. They did have a problem parking cars in a private lot located about two blocks away. BD guesses they just got tired of the long runs back and forth.

Not a very pretty sight for potential buyers, wouldn't you agree?

The LeComte Development folks contacted BD a few days ago, asking advice on how to stop the valets from using his property, not just now but in the future after the townhomes were sold.

His simple answer - Tow the cars off the property. Take them far far away from Lower Greenville. And make the owners go get them back.

The law is very clear on three points.

A car can be towed off private property by the owner without any warning or notice to the vehicle's owner.

A car cannot be parked on the street in front of a driveway ramp, no matter if the home is occupied or empty.

And valet drivers cannot park cars on the public right of way (streets) without permission of the City.

BD wrote a letter on behalf of LeComte Develoopment, notifying The Beagle, First Impressions, the City's Valet Parking Management office, and the Dallas Police Department of the issues and problem. He informed them a towing contract was going to be signed shortly.

The property owner signed a towing contract with United Tows on Tuesday morning, effective immediately.

BD spoke to one of The Beagle's owners on Sunday night, warning him of the pending changes. The valet service owner did not see the letter until late Tuesday evening. He told BD on late Tuesday evening the same Beagle owner told him about the pending changes and the towing issue early Tuesday evening. He claims he had permission to park on the driveways at certain times from a friend of a friend of the townhome developer, but he had trouble pronouncing the developer's name, did not have a phone number and did not have any kind of written agreement. You can hear BD arguing the issue with him on the videotape.

Update 1pm - Another Lower Greenville bar owner took time from his holiday to call BD about this story. A few months ago, he found the same valet company's drivers using one of his parking lots on the other side of Greenville Avenue. When he went to the valets and asked why they were parking cars on the lot, they told him they had the permission of the owner. He replied, I am the mother------- owner and I never gave you permission to park your cars here. Now get them off or they will all be towed away.

But he very clearly described him as a lying scumbag property developer who was lying to BD about everything.

And he had no problem accusing BD of putting a stick up the --- of the developer to make him do all this.

Fair disclosures: BD has known Josh LeComte longer than he has known the owner of the valet service. BD has provided printing services to Josh (for example, business cards). BD pulled records for the towing service owner as he worked to solve other problems on Lower Greenville. BD has provided printing and service references to the towing company (including the classic - Greetings, you have been towed - flyers).

A BD reader says - Knowing some background on vehicle valet service --- I would not give the keys of my vehicle to any valet service personnel if they offered to ME a $500.00 dollar bill.

Questions arise as to --- Who are they? What are their backgrounds? Do they have a valid drivers license? Will they offer to pay for any vehicle damage sustained while the car is in their custody? Are they wanted for auto theft?

Nope! No valet service for me.

Let's roll the video. The scene is set at 11:30 pm Tuesday evening, and the tow trucks are circling the neighborhood (patrolling properties at Firestone, Taco Cabana and Big Wong). There are eight patron vehicles parked on the townhome driveways.

Click here to the read the WFAA story and see their news video - Valets using private driveways for parking

Lights (not enough). Camera (a little wobbly). Action (lots of it).

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Lower Greenville