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Downtown Durham lunch turns into costly parking lesson

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A quick lunch becomes an expensive lesson for one man in Durham.

When you see a sign welcoming you to park in a downtown Durham parking lot, you expect it to be free. But one local driver failed to see the other sign, and ended up paying big bucks.

"$220 to get the car back in cash," Jeff Levy said.

After a quick lunch at Satisfaction at Brightleaf Square in Durham, Jeff returned to the parking lot where he parked his car and found that his car was gone.

Jeff Levy learned a frustrating lesson.

"I was there for about 45 minutes, came out and my car was towed," he said.

Jeff parked his car in at this Brightleaf lot.

There is this big sign at the lot that states "parking for Brightleaf Square, quality shops and dining.

"I've lived here 20 years and it's always been open to the public," he said.

But not anymore. There are new signs posted at the entrance that say the lot is permit only.

"I did not see the signs, there is a sign at the entrance but it's a busy intersection; looking at the traffic wasn't paying attention to the sign and I guess it's a force of habit. I've been there so many times," Jeff said.

And Jeff isn't the only one making the costly mistake. We got the tow truck removing another unlucky driver:

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A car gets towed away at a Brightleaf Square parking lot.

A security guy on the lot tells me about six or seven cars have been towed daily since the towing has been enforced.

A rep with the property management company of Brightleaf told me they had to make the change to permit only because they recently lost a significant parking area for the employees that work at the business at Brightleaf and parking spaces are needed for those employees.

She added there was a grace period, and they hired extra security to inform people not to park there if they didn't have a permit. But the grace period is now up and you will get towed.

"It's somewhat unfair as they have taken away significant portion of their parking from their customers. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up," Jeff said.

The lot is only permit parking, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rep said all other times Brightleaf customers can park in the lot.

There is another lot directly across from the permit lot that is still open for customers, but it is $3 an hour. However, many business at Brightleaf will validate your parking.

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