A proposal to extend a three-hour parking restriction for 60 spaces in the Peconic Riverfront to midnight on weekdays drew questions and criticism during a town board public hearing Tuesday night.
The current code limits parking to three hours in those 60 spaces between 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The proposed amendment would extend the three-hour limit to midnight. It would not increase the number of affected spaces.
The proposal came out of the parking district advisory committee. The idea is to reserve those 60 spaces for patrons of nearby restaurants and to prevent downtown residents from parking in them from 6 p.m. through the following morning.
Bob Barta, president of the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue, asked the board to consider a voucher system for patrons attending performances there.
“Shows are two-and-a-half hours long. We would like people to be able to attend a show and patronize a restaurant too without getting a ticket,” Barta said. He suggested some kind of pass that could be placed in the windshields of vehicles.
Ray Dickhoff, one of the owners of Summerwind Square and the owner of Joe’s Garage said his restaurant offers musical entertainment three nights a week that runs for four hours. If the town issues vouchers to the Vail-Leavitt, it should do the same for Joe’s Garage, he said.
Dickhoff also asked the board what its plans are for providing parking overall.
“Where are we going from here?” Dickhoff asked. “I bought the first piece of property where we built Summerwind in 2002. The town adopted the master plan in 2003. In the 14 years since then, the town hasn’t created a single parking space downtown,” he said.
Cynthia Jones, who lives in the Summerwind apartment building, said residents there often have no place to park, especially on weekends in the summer.
“I know it’s municipal parking and I can’t have a private spot. I understand that,” Jones said. “But what’s the big picture?” She asked if there would be restrictions on additional parking spaces in the future.
Angela DeVito of South Jamesport, treasurer of the Vail-Leavitt and a former candidate for town supervisor, said parking is “a significant problem downtown” that extending the three-hour restriction for those 60 stalls won’t solve.
“Those 60 spots are not sufficient” for the restaurants in the immediate area, she said.
Deputy Supervisor Jill Lewis, filling in for Supervisor Sean Walter, who was absent, pointed out that the restaurants brought the request to extend the time restrictions to the parking district committee.
“The Band-aid approach doesn’t work,” DeVito said.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio recused herself from the hearing because she is a partner in the company that owns Summerwind Square.
The hearing record was left open for 10 days to allow written comment.
Residents: Don’t settle transient rentals litigation
Wading River residents asked the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night not to settle a lawsuit over short-term rentals by allowing rentals between three and 14 days in duration.
Riverhead Town brought suit against the owners of beachfront properties in Wading River for violating the town’s short-term rental code, which currently bans rentals shorter than 30 days in duration.
“The settlement will not address the issues we experience” with short-term rentals, said Creek Road resident Rosina Demarco. “We’re asking that the Town of Riverhead enforce the law.”
“If you are to change the regulations by agreement, you are diminishing the code,” Bab Sakowitz of Oak Street said. “Creek Road is not a commercial zone.”
James Csorny of Oak Street complained that one transient rental property on Oak Street has an accessory apartment. “Under the code, you need to occupy the main residence to have an accessory apartment. That accessory apartment should be removed from their property.”
Councilman Tim Hubbard said in an interview after the meeting the town board has discussed possible settlement scenarios of litigation brought against the owners of seven homes on Creek Road allegedly being used for short-term rentals. No settement agreement has been reached, Hubbard said.
Residents and members of a coalition opposed to the potential for housing development at the Calverton Enterprise Park urged the town board to revise the zoning code to remove housing as a special permit use there. See separate story.
• In other action Tuesday, the town board also:
- consented to the terms of a “revenue recovery service agreement” between Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. and Certified Ambulance Group Inc. to implement billing for emergency medical services provided for victims of motor vehicle accidents, beginning May 1 (see prior story);
- approved the special event permit of the Rotary Club of Riverhead for its Garden Festival to be held May 11-14 at Tanger Outlets in the Office Max parking lot on Route 58;
- approved the special event permit of the L.I. Antique Power Association for its 25th Annual Tractor Pull and Engine Show to be held May 20-21 and July 8-9.