Long Beach

Despite opposition from area towing firms, the City Council has tentatively approved sweeping changes in the city's towing regulations.

The council voted 7 to 1 to approve the changes, which include a stipulation that towing companies accept credit cards or personal checks for payment of fees.

In addition, the new regulations make it illegal for a towing firm to remove a vehicle from private property unless a notice is posted.

Richard Waldo, an attorney representing CCR Towing, told the council the regulations "single out" towing firms and "affect their ability to stay in business." The use of credit cards or checks should be "a convenience, not a requirement," he said.

Councilman Marc Wilder, who cast the lone vote against the new regulations, argued that the council was going too far. "We're moving out of the regulatory business with these changes," Wilder said. "This is way beyond what is called for."

But Councilman Thomas Clark said the new regulations are needed. "We've had a lot of people unhappy with the towing industry," Clark said. "We're acting because the community had complaints."

If approved on second reading at Tuesday's council meeting, the new regulations will go into effect March 15.

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