The Department of Public Lands has clarified a long-asked question of those that frequent Garapan, saying only the local police force have the authority to tow and impound a vehicle on public land.
In a letter Saipan Tribune obtained that was addressed to a local tire shop owner, Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Teregeyo clarified that public land, or areas that are not under lease, remain “non-exclusive and open to the public.”
The same goes for business establishments that have secured a Parking Temporary Occupancy Agreement from DPL, making the parking area under businesses that secured such an agreement non-exclusive and open to the public as well—regardless if the business establishment is patronized or not.
“In cases where parking may take place on a right-of-way or on other public land, DPS holds the authority to tow and impound vehicles,” the letter states, adding that a vehicle is subject to towing if it is left unattended for over 72 hours or three full days, is blocking a private driveway, is believed to have been stolen, or for “reasons which can be found in violation of DPS regulations.”
Teregeyo said that towing companies have towed cars parked along Corporal Derence Jack Road, just outside of Garapan Elementary School.
“At that time, such parking spaces were unrestricted and therefore the towing company should not have towed the parking vehicles,” said Teregeyo, adding that the area now has signs that inform the public that public parking is prohibited during school hours, which is from 7am to 4pm.
“Vehicles parked outside of the hours will not be towed,” she said.
According to Teregeyo, only DPL, DPS, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, or the lessee of public land could authorize the towing of a vehicle.
“Towing companies have no authority to tow vehicles on public land except those parked on fire lanes,” she added.