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Parking restrictions in New Suffolk could be implemented this summer

Sweeping changes to parking rules in New Suffolk could be implemented as soon as this summer.

After a parking study and community meeting, the town may take steps both to place more restrictions on where and when people can park in the hamlet, as well as to improve enforcement of timed spots and town beach stickers.

According to a plan presented Tuesday by deputy supervisor Jill Doherty and town engineer Michael Collins, parking by permit only would be extended to cover the entire grid area from  New Suffolk Road south to First Street. No parking would be allowed along Main Street or portions of Jackson, First and Second streets. A small stretch along First Street would be reserved for 15-minute parking, while the majority of parking across from the shops and restaurants would be limited to three hours seasonally.

Residents who live along the residential streets would also be required to obtain guest placards allowing their visitors to park.

But Supervisor Scott Russell was hesitant about the guest parking placard idea. “You’re giving exclusive use to a property owner. You’re setting aside the town code,” he said. “It’s a great idea but I don’t know how you carve out exceptions” on a public street, the supervisor said, adding that the New Suffolk area has always been difficult to manage due to its growing popularity and narrow streets.

The central issue is that on summer weekends, visitors have been parking on residential streets in the hamlet and walking to the town beach facing Robins Island. The lot by the town beach has approximately 40 spaces reserved for residents, but visitors to the area often park on nearby residential streets and walk to the beach.

Officials may also take steps to limit the number of daily beach visitors and install snow fencing along the New Suffolk beachfront to deter non-residents from entering.

Another public discussion, which will be held via Zoom, is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m.