Towing companies are quickly and aggressively removing cars from private downtown parking lots, some of which lack proper signage, a trend that could undermine efforts to attract more visitors, a Selectman said Tuesday night.
Selectman Jason Smith said some patrons have returned to find their cars towed and then had to pay $135 to have them released from impound.
"What are we telling people who might want to come downtown?" he asked, adding: "This is very disappointing."
In particular, Smith called out West Side Towing, which he said had trucks essentially lying in wait for cars to park in private lots. "They would then immediately go and grab them," he said.
In some lots, West Side Towing signs - which warn that cars can be towed for parking without authorization - sit on the ground, hang upside down or have been defaced with spray paint graffiti that makes them difficult to read.
Smith said the towing company had a truck "sneaking" around those lots, waiting to quickly tow cars that park without authorization.
"There should be proper signage," said Selectman Dennis Giombetti. "This has been a problem in the past."
Giombetti said the towing is usually "landlord-driven" with building owners contracting with towing companies to enforce the no-parking rules.
Town Manager Bob Halpin said he would reach out to Framingham Downtown Renaissance, which can in turn contact its members about the issue.
"Having the proper signage is important," he added.