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Town Mulls Cut to Merchant Parking Spots

Current formula involves up to seven spots for free. Board talks lower maximum.

In an effort to create more parking in downtown Chappaqua for shoppers, New Castle's Town Board is considering whether to cut the number of spots that merchants can request for their usage.

The topic was raised at Tuesday's work session when Town Clerk Jill Shapiro, who handles parking, came in during budget talks.

“So we’re sort of between a rock and a hard place," she said,

Describing the crunch, Shapiro noted a recent in-house analysis done based on factors such as number of spaces and the types of business, the town wound up having more spots allocated than the town physically has.

Currently, merchants can request up to seven spots, which have been free since the town dropped a $150 fee in 2010. Since then, the number of issued merchant parking has jumped, from 176 in 2010 to 368, with 2012 still ongoing. The board discussed the shortfall initially at a work session earlier this year.

The trend fluctuates, she explained, with there being "substantial parking" on weekends and holidays, versus the oppposite on weekdays.

Shapiro told the board that the town is limited against bringing back a fee due to easement agreements signed with property owners that were needed for the town's overhaul of the South Greeley Avenue parking lot, which was done in 2011. In addition, she also described unsuccessful attempts to ask Rite Aid and the nearby Catholic church for spaces; the church was only open to doing for for specific events.

Shapiro initially suggested looking at a cut to 5-6 spaces, while some board members suggested looking at a sliding scale.

Councilman Robin Stout noted using square footages as scale criteria. 

“I’m a believer in scale and tiers," said Councilman Jason Chapin, who suggested charing based on the amount of spots, an idea, that was responded to by a another mention of the easements.

No decision has been made yet, however. Shapiro agreed to circulate the recent survey to board members, which could help the board in its future discussion of the matter.

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