It's a Saturday night. You've come to Easton to eat, drink or socialize. You're driving around, looking for a place to park, and you spot it: the Bank of America building, and its parking lot.
Leaving your car there might seem tempting, but it's a bad idea.
People who park in that lot -- who aren't there on business -- are finding their cars towed by property owner Riverstar Properties, and paying a $240 fee to get them back.
Easton officials say Riverstar has every right to do this. Still, it's a situation that's frustrated them for some time.
“It’s like a trap,” City Councilman Jeff Warren said at last week's council meeting.
He and his colleagues had just heard from Nanet Peterson, a Bethlehem resident who had come to Easton on business.
Peterson -- a mental health clinician -- had banking to do at Bank of America, but also had to take some paperwork to the nearby public assistance office. She went to the public assistance office first.
“I was in there for 2-3 minutes, and my car was towed away," she said.
Mayor Sal Panto told Peterson her story is a familiar one, but that the city's hands are tied.
“It is a private parking lot. There’s not a whole lot we can do," he said.
At the same time, city officials say this is the type of thing that can keep people from revisiting Easton. The mayor told the story of a man who visited from Scranton, had his car towed on a Friday night, and had to wait until Monday to retrieve it.
It's a situation that could lead to legal action, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes told the Express-Times last week.
Holmes' restaurant and the Bank of America building are next to each other, and have a shared parking agreement. Still, Holmes told the newspaper he's had at least three customers who have had their cars towed.
Although many people who get towed are parked in the lot illegally, Panto said the signs in the lot can be confusing.
He said the city is hoping to work with Riverstar. At the very least, he'd like to get the company to notify police when they've towed a car, so drivers don't think their cars have been stolen.