PARKING PANIC: Towing Signs Installed In Front Of Whispering Pines Elementary

News Palm Beach County Schools

Principal Barbara Riemer Has Not Alerted Parents. Tow Company Says It’s A Warning.

Warning: Cars may be towed if parked in front of Whispering Pines Elementary School in Boca Raton.

UPDATE: Click here for Monday, August 19th update.

UPDATE: 7:10pm Sunday, August 18, 2019: In a rambling robocall Sunday evening, Principal Barbara Riemer reminds parents of dress code, encourages them to put children on a bus, and then mentions that the “Spanish Isles Homeowner’s Association” has “sent a letter” to the school district claiming ownership of land on both sides of Spanish Isles Blvd. She warns that cars may be towed, but offers no solution for where parents conducting business on school grounds should park. Read the entire text of Riemer’s robocall following this article. She makes no reference to why it took more than 48 hours to acknowledge the issue.

UPDATE: August 18, 2019 @4pm: Whispering Pines parents have still not received information from Principal Barbara Riemer concerning the new signs. A robocall transmitted on August 12th only mentions parking on the”residential” side of the street and blocking sidewalks.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Parents planning to park — as usual — directly in front of Whispering Pines Elementary School on Monday morning may want to think twice.

Towing signs have been erected along the south side of Spanish Isles Boulevard, on both sides of the school’s entrance. Parents and school support personnel have parked on the grassy area directly in front of the school for years, but it turns out the area is owned by the Spanish Isles Homeowner’s Association — not Palm Beach County. Apparently fed up with the parking and damage to the grass, the HOA has retained Westway Towing to remove cars on its land.

The land in question — marked in red — is owned by the Spanish Isles HOA. This area is directly in front of Whispering Pines Elementary School and across the street from Spanish Isles. The HOA owns land on BOTH sides of the street.

Towing, according to a Westway manager, is not necessarily imminent.

“We are not predatory towers,” said the representative who requested their name not be used. “We follow the law. The signs were legally placed.”

The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser confirms that the land in question — directly in front of Whispering Pines — does belong to the HOA and neither Palm Beach County nor the school district. An attorney for he HOA did not immediately return a call to BocaNewsNow.com seeking comment as to why the HOA is taking action as the school year starts, or whether it’s an attempt to force Palm Beach County to buy the land under eminent domain.

Witnesses told BocaNewsNow.com that a school police officer — and school principal Barbara Riemer — rushed to the scene Friday afternoon when a tow truck first arrived near the school.

“We weren’t towing cars,” said the Westway representative. “We were installing signs.”

Despite the very public incident, parents — as of 4:30p Saturday — have still not been notified that the signs are up and that the area is off limits for parking. One person familiar with the matter was told that a robo-call or email was transmitted to parents on August 12th, however several parents contacting BocaNewsNow.com say they’ve received nothing from the school district, or Principal Barbara Riemer, stating that parking on the south side of Spanish Isles Boulevard — directly in front of the school — could lead to tickets or towing. Her message only refers to parking on the north side (residential side) the street or blocking sidewalks.

Riemer has repeatedly told parents to park on the grass, precisely where the signs have been placed.

It is unclear where parents attending school events will now be directed. While the school is set on Spanish Isles Blvd., it abuts Lyons Road which offers no parking space.

Westway Towing is a respected tower in the area, relied upon by law enforcement for its professionalism.

…Developing…

— ROBOCALL RECEIVED 7:10 Sunday, August 18th, 2019, more than 48 hours after signs were installed:

Good evening parents, this is Mrs. Riemer with a few reminders and some information as we head into our 2nd week of school. When in the car line for drop off or pick up remember to pull all the way up, remain in your car at all times, cell phone usage is not permitted, and to place your car tag showing your last name and PIN # in your front window. Remember that dress code is a solid color shirt with a collar or a t-shirt, khaki, blue, or black, shorts, pants, skorts, or jumpers, and closed toed and closed healed shoes. Shorts must be the length of a students fingertips and gym shorts are encouraged for PE. Please make sure that your child’s teacher knows how your child is going home at all times.  Palm Beach School District has received a letter from the Spanish Isles HOA showing that they own land on both sides of Spanish Isles Blvd and that they may tow vehicles who are parked in their areas.  Remember too that PBSO will ticket anybody obstructing the street or sidewalks.  It is highly encouraged that parents utilize the bus if they are able, go to Find My Bus on the district web page to identify if you have access to a bus.  Carpooling is also highly encouraged.  Thank you and have a wonderful evening.