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Man solves parking mystery in his Denver neighborhood

A car sharing app was the root of a parking problem in one Denver neighborhood.

DENVER — For months, Kevin Hesla struggled to find a parking spot on his street near Empower Field at Mile High.

“If you came home after a certain time at night, people were literally parking in the alley," he said. "There was nowhere to park."

After a while, Hesla said he started to see people wandering around 21st Street across from his condo. They appeared to be searching for vehicles.

“There were just people walking around, people going back to the airport, people standing on our lawn,” he said. “I just asked them what app they were using, and they said Turo.”

Turo is a car-sharing app meant to let people rent their vehicles temporarily using a concept similar to Airbnb.

Hesla said he soon found a profile for a man named Ryan who was listing more than 30 vehicles on the app. He looked through the vehicles listed on Ryan’s page, and realized those same vehicles were parked on his street.

“Basically, our whole street was turned into a rental car lot,” Hesla said.

He began to keep track of the cars by license plate, snapping pictures of them and logging where they were parked in a spreadsheet.

Hesla contacted the city about the issue, but said he was told there wasn’t much the city could do. The city councilwoman for the area, Amanda Sandoval, told 9NEWS Tuesday because Hesla’s neighborhood was zoned for mixed use, there was no law against commercial entities parking on the street.

But Sandoval said she contacted Turo to see if she could sort the issue out. Hesla tried contacting Turo too.

He said it took several months, but he finally heard from a representative from Turo, saying the host was in violation of the company’s Good Neighbor Policy, which requires car hosts to park vehicles on private property, so to not take away public parking.

“Any complaints regarding host parking and vehicle storage are taken seriously and violations may result in restricted vehicles and accounts,” a representative for the company said in a statement to 9NEWS. “When Turo’s Trust and Safety team received the complaint, the team took swift action to work with the host and local government to enforce the Good Neighbor Policy and resolve the issue.”

Hesla said the person who contacted him from Turo said the host had been told to move his vehicles to private property. He said the representative told him if the host violated the policy again, he would be removed from the Turo platform.

Ryan, the Turo host, confirmed to 9NEWS late Tuesday that he moved his vehicles to a lot that belongs to a vendor who has done some work on the cars. He said he will continue to follow the policy.

Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, which manages the public right of way, told 9NEWS the city may create a new policy to manage this issue.

“DOTI is reviewing its policies that regulate the public right of way and how, if at all, these types of businesses are governed by existing policies,” spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo said in a statement.

Hesla said he’s glad the problem is taken care of in his neighborhood, but he fears other areas might have to deal with the same problem.

"I'm sure this is happening in other parts of the city,” he said.

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