After GoTriangle accused the Streets at Southpoint of threatening to tow its riders’ cars, Durham’s planning director says doing so would be a violation of the city’s unified development ordinance.

The transit agency said Wednesday that fliers had been placed on GoTriangle riders’ cars saying they would be towed if parked at the mall outside the hours of six a.m. to six p.m. Monday through Friday. In a 2008 agreement between the city and the mall, Southpoint agreed to set aside 147 of its parking spots for people to park their cars and board GoTriangle buses. The mall had offered to accommodate park-and-ride vehicles when it asked the city to rezone the property in 1999.

Planning staff visited the mall today, director Patrick Young said, and found that signs designating park-and-ride spots at Southpoint do not specify any hours.

“As such, any attempt to enforce time limitations on these spaces will be a violation of Section 10.2.2.B.2 of the UDO, which will be enforced by the Planning Department. The Mall is permitted to install revised signage with time limitations permitted by Section 10.2.2.B.2 of the UDO and enforce such limitations after such signage is installed,” Young wrote in a memo to city officials.

Under the city’s UDO, any commercial or office development with four hundred or more parking spaces is required to set aside at least 5 percent as park-and-ride spaces. Southpoint is seeking to reduce that number to one hundred, the maximum that can be required under the UDO, Young said. Young said this would negate part of the 2008 agreement between the city and the mall in which Southpoint agreed to the 147 spots.

“This is permissible under the UDO,” Young wrote, “but would be considered a significant deviation from the Zoning Approval, necessitating a new site plan and return of the reserved park-and-ride lot and bus stop with shelter to the original location identified on the Zoning Approval.”

Mayor Bill Bell called Southpoint’s actions “really poor public relations on the part of the mall to have proceeded in the direction that they did.”

GoTriangle called the mall out on Twitter.

“We believe that this action is wrong and that it’s an unfair way to treat transit customers who are attempting to park in what should be dedicated spaces for their use,” GoTriangle general manager Jeff Mann said in a statement. “Transit service to this area provides vital access for many who work or shop at the mall or for those who need to connect to other employment centers, schools and medical care.”

A phone call to Patrick Anderson, general manager of GGP, which owns the Streets of Southpoint, was not immediately returned.