The Greenport Village Board rejected a parking meter proposal Thursday night after business owners petitioned against the move because they believe it would deter shoppers from visiting their stores.
The board voted 4-1 against the proposal, with Mayor David Nyce voting yes.
The village has been wrestling with the best way to handle the congestion for the past few years since many people now park on Main and Front streets early in the morning and leave their cars there all day, making parking more difficult for visitors during the swamped summer months.
Perry Angelson, owner of Harbourfront Deli and The Loft, submitted an anti-parking meter petition signed by nearly 700 people prior to the Village Board vote. He said about 75 percent of those that signed were Greenport residents.
“It was very successful,” Mr. Angelson said of his petition efforts. He has owned his businesses on Front Street for the past 22 years. During that time period, traditional parking meters were removed under former Village Mayor David Kapell’s administration in an effort to make Greenport more visitor-friendly.
Now that the newest parking meter proposal has been defeated, the downtown parking dilemma remains without a solution. And the summer season is just around the corner.
Business owners have said they would rather see a traffic control officer issue tickets to parking violators instead of village-installed meters.
But Mr. Nyce said the only way the village could pay Southold Town $13,000 for a traffic control officer was through anticipated revenue from the parking meters.
“We don’t have it in our budget,” he said during the meeting. “The village would have to write 20 tickets a week in order to pay for a TCO … If you start ticketing customers, then word will get out quick: ‘Don’t go to Greenport.'”
In an effort to find a solution to the village’s parking woes, the Village Board had a downtown parking study completed in 2009 called the “Village of Greenport Parking Management Workshop,” after business owners expressed parking concerns.
In June, the Village Board approved a $100,000 bond to pay for new parking meters, road striping and signs letting drivers know of the changes.
Ms. Phillips said while she’s pleased the Village Board followed through with study, she voted against the proposal because of the business community’s change of heart.
“They have to understand that if they want enforcement, store owners and businesses are going to have to self-police themselves and there’s going to come a point when another service for businesses is going to have to get cut down in order to pay for the enforcement,” she said.