As part of the holiday season, many of downtown Chappaqua's parking spots will allow to people to park up to three hours instead of the current two.
The plan, which will run from next Monday until the end of the month, would involve getting bags to cover existing parking signs to inform people that the parking is free but time limited, New Castle town officials noted at Tuesday's Town Board work session in response to a question about it.
The temporary change would include on-street parking and spots that are not reserved for commuters.
New Castle, unlike neighboring communities such as Mount Kisco and Pleasantville, does not charge for shoppers' parking anyway, but for the season folks would have more time to take advantage of it.
The decision comes as Mount Kisco has opted to scale back its annual free parking approval. This year, on-street parking spots in the village that are for one hour will not be bagged, with the need to maintain turnover for merchants cited as a reason by Village Board members. In the past, Mount Kisco had people who would park in the 1-hour spots, get ticketed and mistakenly thinking that free parking was unlimited in time.
The move also comes amid local demand to have more time.
In a letter posted late last week to the Chappaqua Moms Facebooks group, Desires By Mikolay owner Tara Mikolay urged the town to consider 3-hour parking
"I am hearing non-stop issues from customers regarding parking," she wrote. "I have been a merchant for over 9 years and I have always stood by the town board and trusted them to do their job. I fully recognize it is not an easy job and they are the experts on these matters. I would not presume to know how easy or difficult it is to get something accomplished. With that said, this is clearly not working. The merchants are unhappy, the clients are unhappy. With stores going in and out of business at a rapid pace, and our town sidewalks/aesthetic in shambles-we must do something to make the town friendlier for our residents to shop and spend time in. Please consider changing the parking permanently to 3 hour parking."
There was also talk at the work session as to whether or not a parking time extension should be permanent, and some merchants have expressed concern about maintaining turnover, Town Administrator Penny Paderewski told the board. The board was open to the idea of surveying merchants to see what they would be interested in and the idea may be revisted early next year.