Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 23 April 2010 00:00
During the Traffic Commission’s monthly meeting on April 15, trustee Dennis Donnelly announced that the Village of Garden City would convert 25 permit spots to two-hour spots and begin re-enforcing the parking permits in the Fair Court parking lot. The temporary parking spots would provide a solution to what has been a heated argument for months between the village and the landlord and tenants who utilize the Fair Court parking lot.
The landlord of Fair Court, Irene Goodwin, who along with her husband, Richard, owns 310, 320 and 350 Old Country Road, praised Trustee Donnelly as “terrific” for meeting with her and one of Fair Court’s tenants, Maureen Rothschild DiTata (no relation to the mayor), to discuss options for their visitor and client parking problems that have been the source of much discussion at the last few board meetings. Goodwin suggested that the board consider using a wrought-iron fence as a possible solution and was open to any other ideas that the commission may have.
The parking field at Fair Court, located at the corner of Old Country Road and Washington Avenue, has a total of 396 parking spaces available; 312 spots require a permit, 37 offer two-hour parking, 38 have a one-hour limit, and nine spaces are designated for the disabled. Last September, the board voted to approve a $150 parking permit fee to be applied to Fair Court parking field and Village Parking Field 5, which is located behind the Garden City Medical Building on Franklin Avenue.
On March 18, just three days after the police began enforcing permit parking at Fair Court, Mayor Rothschild agreed to suspend the $150 parking permit fees until the Traffic Commission was able to make a decision on how to handle visitor and temporary parking permits for the tenants and landlord of Fair Court. The mayor then referred the issue to the village’s Traffic Commission for further review.
Trustee Donnelly outlined a temporary plan that will provide parking for people who do not have permits, while again enforcing the permits that have already been issued. Donnelly stated, “What we are going to propose to do, since this parking lot is part of the capital program to be repaved, we are going to defer any further restriping or work, so to speak, in the lot until such time as it’s repaved when we would come up with a new striping scheme and a way to address all these issues in the future. For the time being, what we would do is, since there are more permit spots than there are permits issued, we agree to take 25 spots in the middle, last row middle, where Mr. Mangan would convert those to two-hour parking spots, so that there would be parking for the people of Fair Court who do not have a permit; we would not be forcing them to buy one,” he said.
Goodwin thought that the board was going to make the last row an unrestricted parking area. She stated it would be her preference because some tenants who are litigation lawyers have all-day depositions or closings that can last more than the temporary tags allot for. “Then their visitors could park in an all-day spot...I am trying to think of every tenant and all their needs,” she stated.
In an effort to reach a compromise, Trustee Donnelly told Mrs. Goodwin that the village will honor temporary tags until a decision has been reached by the board and commission. Donnelly stated, “We would go back to the old system, where they issue the temporary permits that have worked in the past until such time that we redo this lot. We will have to come up with a better solution for that issue. So, my recommendation would be that we’ll convert 25 spots to two-hour spots, we go back to the temporary tags issued for people who are visitors for the day and we have permit parking for the rest,” he stated.
In response, Goodwin continued to plead her case for an unrestricted parking area, since many of her tenants would find the fees a hardship. Trustee Donnelly suggested that they move forward with the current proposal for the time being. “Well, why don’t we try it this way, and we can adjust as we go along, but we ought and try to do something because we can’t keep trying to please everybody,” he stated.
Goodwin also requested that the village not repave the parking lot, which is slated as a capital project in the village 2010-11 budget, until the board has made a final decision. “That date of that decision is not tonight. We will make our mind up before we actually do it,” Donnelly stated, advising Mrs. Goodwin to tell her tenants that enforcement of the permits will officially begin again on Monday, April 26.