CHARLOTTE, N.C. You can mess with a lot of things, but you do not mess with people's parking, man.
I went out to the Ballantyne Village shopping center after hearing about something unusual within the last week, someone installed dozens of metal poles, blocking hundreds of perfectly good parking spaces.The poles went up in two parking lots and inside the parking garage, where about half of the spots are blocked with poles cemented in place.The poles have their roots in a property dispute. After a foreclosure, the original owner who built Ballantyne Village in 2006 now only owns the area outlined below in blue.
That's the area that's currently blocked off with poles.
The garage and two lots are for sale. Robert Bruner, the original owner, declined to comment, saying there's also a lawsuit going on. The lawsuit claims that MV Ballantyne Village, which owns the area where the retail shops are, is taking actions that are keeping him from selling the property.
One tenant says there s a meeting set for next week to talk about what s going on.This dispute has been going on for months. The owner already tried putting up movable fences on his property to keep people from parking there. We left a message for the property owner's attorney about that lawsuit, and were unable to reach MV Ballantyne Village.
Business owners told me that traffic in their shops and restaurants has been slower, but not catastrophically slow. At lunchtime Wednesday, several cars were circling the lots. Drivers say the spat is irritating. One said he had to drive around the lots for five to 10 minutes to find a spot. Another one was angrier. He s playing like a little kid, he said of Bruner.
In the above video, NBC Charlotte s Jeremy Markovich shows us what s happening at Ballantyne Village.