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Village of Lewiston pondering Artpark-related parking changes

by jmaloni
Sat, May 9th 2015 10:00 am

Kayak fees could be modified

By Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

The Village of Lewiston is once again trying to find the optimal parking configuration for summer nights when Artpark & Company concerts draw thousands to town. Trustees ruled on side street parking and residential pop-up parking lots last summer, then reversed course when neighbors suggested the board's rulings were inconsistent and cumbersome.

"Gentlemen, we run into this every year at this time," Mayor Terry Collesano told trustees at Monday's work session. "Soon they'll be having their Tuesday concerts and Wednesday concerts at Artpark. We went through some learning curves the last couple of years on the parking on village streets with the signage and what have you.

"We always like to talk about it this time of year to see if we can tweak what we've already got or improve what we have."

Lewiston Police Department Sgt. Frank Previte said one problem is concertgoers parking on side streets instead of on the edge of the grass, which is village right-of-way.

"They're not parking off the street, they're parking on the street," he said. "They're not parking on the shoulder, they're parking from where the pavement ends into the road. Effectively, it's still blocking traffic there. That's a problem."

He acknowledged motorists are trying to be considerate of lawns, but noted parking in this manner limits first responders' ability to drive down the roadways in the case of an emergency, and severely slows the motorists trying to exit the village after an event ends.

"It just clogs up that whole end of the village," Previte said.

Joseph Leone, the Village of Lewiston's legal counsel, will look into the legality of limiting street parking on the south streets surrounding Artpark.

Trustees said the village has lost several "no parking" signs over the years. Some, they suggested, were taken by homeowners who place them in front of their properties on concert nights. Residents who've taken one or more signs were encouraged to return the village property to the Red Brick Municipal Building.

Additionally, board members are leaning toward prohibiting residential pop-up parking lots that carry a fee.

"I spoke to some residents ... and the biggest thing we've got to reinforce for this year is the pay-for-parking lots," Trustee Dan Gibson said. "We've got to reinforce that."

"I think there should be a zero-tolerance," he added. "And we start issuing tickets right away if we catch them."

Trustees also are considering changing the code provision that limits the number of cars homeowners can park in residential driveways. Comments suggested the two-car-per-home rule should be modernized to allow for additional vehicles.

•Kayak fees were discussed. Board members are considering the addition of a season pass, which, for $20 or $25, would allow kayakers unlimited docking privileges for a summer season.

Harbormaster John Ritter said he is opposed to waiving the $4-per-kayak fee.

"We all agreed $7 was too much. We brought it to $4. $4 I think is reasonable," he said. "Now, some people say, 'Well, you shouldn't charge kayakers.' I don't agree. If you charge one person to put a craft in the river, you have to charge everybody. You can't say, 'Well, you're special. You don't get charged.' "

"People pay $140 a year to put their boats in," Ritter said. He noted jet skis cost $7 per unit or $70 per season.

No action was taken.

•The Village Board appointed new members to the Historic Preservation Commission/Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Claudia Marasco will take Loretta Frankovitch's Planning Board seat for the month of May. She and her new colleagues will be up for reappointment next month.

The board appointed Brian Zachary as an alternate. His term will expire May 31, 2017.

George VanHoose will replace Edward Finkbeiner on the ZBA. His term is for one year.

"We interviewed each and every one of them, and we were very impressed with all of them," Collesano said. "They all have many talents of their own. We went for dedication to the village; past services; as well as future thoughts on what they could do for the village."

Trustees accepted resignations from Frankovitch and Finkbeiner.

Following an executive session, Brendan McDermott was picked to replace the retiring Marianne Gittermann as recreation director.

•Board members approved a motion allowing the Lewiston Garden Club to hire Adams Nursery for landscaping improvements at the Lewiston Peace Garden next to the Frontier House on Center Street. The Lewiston Garden Club will pay the $5,400 fee.

•Trustees endorsed the property tax freeze credit brought about by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The board pledged its support of a Niagara County-created government efficiency plan that would evaluate opportunities for shared services, consolidation or merger.

By staying within the property tax cap, the village would position homeowners to receive a credit.

"Basically, this happened a year ago at the mayors' conference in Albany - the governor came up with this plan," Collesano said. "We stay within the 2 percent over a three-year period, then on the third year, (which) I believe would be 2017, they'll be - depending on value of one's house - there will be a reimbursement, of sorts.

"On a $100,000 house, as it was said - it could've changed - on a $100,000-valued house, it would be approximately $60. The state will send you a check at the end of the year."

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