‘I would have set a timer’: Some upset with Optimist Hall parking bills

CHARLOTTE — Multiple people contacted Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke recently, saying they went to the popular food venue, Optimist Hall, and ended up with much bigger parking bills than they expected.

So Stoogenke wants to make sure you know how it works, especially when your time starts running.

When you pull in one of the lots, you don’t take a ticket or anything.

But make no mistake, they have the technology and they know when you’ve arrived.

So, the clock starts ticking right away, not when you find an actual parking spot. Think of it like a parking deck.

You park, go to a blue and white sign, scan the QR code, type in your information (such as your tag and credit card), and that’s it.

Leave when you want — they know that too. The clock stops automatically when you leave, and they send you a receipt.

The parking prices are:

Up to 90 minutes: Free

Up to three hours: $5

After that: $18

Kristen Butler says she wishes she had known the moment you pull in the lot, you’re on the clock. But she says she didn’t. She told Stoogenke it was so busy when she pulled in, it took a while to find a space. She says she finally landed one, spent a few hours eating and hanging out, and then left.

According to her bill, Butler entered the lot at 6:35 p.m. and left at 9:40 p.m. So, she ended up having to pay the full amount of $18 by just five minutes.

“I was a little annoyed,” she said. “I would have set a timer because we were just enjoying the evening. Like there wasn’t anything keeping me there the extra five minutes.”

Optimist Hall emailed Stoogenke saying there’s a “short grace period when entering and exiting the lot,” but didn’t comment further. He asked how short that grace period is but didn’t hear back in time for this report.

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