It's business as usual for Parking Lot Services.

Months of debate and revision ended Tuesday with a 3-2 York City Council vote to reject an ordinance that would have regulated the relatively new company that uses boots to immobilize illegally parked vehicles on private lots.

That means nothing will immediately change for PLS and its owner, Brandon Marquette, who said he's spent tens of thousands of dollars on attorney fees since the council began drafting a new law last year.

Marquette called Tuesday's vote "a fair outcome."

"We will absolutely continue to operate," he said.

Talk of regulation started last year with the arrival of PLS, which makes money by booting vehicles and collecting a fee from their trespassing owners.

The company's customers include private parking-lot owners all over the city, several of whom have publicly lauded the service as an effective alternative to towing.

The city's police department, which is occasionally called to mediate disputes between booters and bootees, asked the council to put some rules on paper.

Council members have been working on the booting proposal since September.

But members disagreed frequently about aspects of the proposal, including whether or not to require that booting companies wait at least 15 minutes upon discovering an illegally parked vehicle before immobilizing it — as towing companies must do.


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In the proposal the council rejected Tuesday, the wait requirement would have applied only to trespassing vehicles found on lots where the driver had already paid to park.

For example, that would have included a few metered parking spaces outside Central Market and at the market's private garage at the corner of Beaver and Philadelphia streets.

Otherwise, booting companies would have been allowed to immobilize vehicles immediately upon discovering them in private lots.

On Tuesday, Councilman Henry Nixon said he was still struggling with the wait requirement.

Motorists know they must pay to park at a street meter or in a garage, Nixon said. The same standard should apply to private lots, he said.

"If you park somewhere, you are renting that space," Nixon said. "And you need to pay your rent."

Nixon joined Councilwoman Renee Nelson and Council President Carol Hill-Evans in voting against the ordinance.

Marquette said he believes the enforcement of waiting periods should be at the discretion of private-property owners.

Hill-Evans said the conversation about booting regulations could be resurrected, but it would have to go through the same process of debate and votes.

And, if the booting debate resumes, Marquette said he'll be there to advocate for his company.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.