Parking woes plague new Sauk City Vintage

April 18, 2018

There are 200 public parking spots within one block of the Vintage Brewing Company in Sauk City. And, in an effort to be a good neighbor to nearby businesses, Vintage co-owner Trent Kraemer is doing what he can to get the word out, after several tenants in the River’s Edge Mall adjacent to Vintage complained to Sauk City village officials their own patrons couldn’t find spaces due to the overflow of traffic from the pub.

The issue was discussed April 11 during the Sauk Prairie Police Commission’s monthly meeting after Chief Jerry Strunz reported to the commission the department received multiple requests April 6 from River’s Edge tenant businesses and owners to tow vehicles in their lot whose owners were not patronizing the mall’s businesses.

Strunz said state statute does allow a private property owner to post parking for their customers only. He said the statute also allows that business owner to tow vehicles in violation of code restriction.

Strunz said it is department policy not to tow off private property for several reasons including liability if the towing company damaged the vehicle and if the vehicle owner did not or could not pay to have the vehicle released, the cost would then fall on the shoulders of the department.

“We will typically get those types of complaints from owners of apartment complexes who may have a car parked from someone who doesn’t necessarily rent from them,” Strunz said. “In those cases, we will respond and make a determination of whether the vehicle has been stolen or is in violation of any village ordinance, and then advise the property owner it is within their rights to have that vehicle removed at their expense.”

Strunz said he has had that conversation with at least one River’s Edge tenant.

“They were pretty adamant we should change our policy and start towing cars off private property,” he said.

A business owner has the right to post parking signs, and if those signs are posted, the police department can issue parking citations to vehicles in violation. First offenses generate a fine of $20, and subsequent citations range from $50-$100. A vehicle could also be towed by the property owner.

Several new signs can be seen in a variety of places throughout the River’s Edge mall parking lot, indicating the parking lot is for customers of Rivers Edge Mall only and violators will be towed.

However, the police department would only tow from a private parking lot if there is an underlying public safety issue or criminal offense, Strunz said.

“The property owner or lessee does have the right tow illegally parked vehicles from their property if signs indicating such are posted,” he said.

Kraemer said once the village notified him of the complaints, he took immediate action to reach out to River’s Edge tenants.

“I don’t want to be a bad neighbor,” Kraemer stressed. “It really upset me other businesses have reportedly been impacted.”

Commission member Ray Bolton asked why the village approved the Vintage construction if there weren’t enough spots in the lot.

“Because we weren’t going to stop someone from coming in just because of the parking,” said commission member John Schmidt, who also serves on the Sauk City Village Board. “I hope they are just going through some growing pains there. I know they are working on it.”

Kraemer said he, his other partners and his staff have been spreading the word with customers, and have even posted their own signs in the Vintage lot.

“We are really just trying to remind people in addition to our lot, there are 200 identified public parking spaces within one block of Vintage,” Kraemer said. “We’ve posted signs asking patrons that if our lot is full, to please be respectful of other businesses and to use those public spots.”