Mamaroneck Neighbors On Opposite Sides Of Proposed Parking Restrictions

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Washington Square is one of several streets that would be affected by a proposed local law to restrict parking for non-residents.
Washington Square is one of several streets that would be affected by a proposed local law to restrict parking for non-residents. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
New Jefferson Street  is one of several streets that would be affected by a proposed local law to restrict parking for non-residents.
New Jefferson Street is one of several streets that would be affected by a proposed local law to restrict parking for non-residents. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

This story has been updated to include comments from N. Chatsworth Avenue resident Janet Scully.

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MAMARONECK, N.Y. – To stop commuters who use the Larchmont train station from parking their cars all day in the nearby Washington Square area, the Town of Mamaroneck has proposed a local law restricting parking to three hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays for non-residents.

A public hearing will be held at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 4, in the Town Center on the local law, which would issue parking permits to residents. Because many who live in this area are elderly, caregivers would also be allowed to have permits.

The area includes Washington Square, New Jefferson Street, Old Jefferson Street, a section of N. Chatsworth Avenue and Murray Avenue between Myrtle Boulevard and Leafy Lane. There are 686 housing units in that area with 539 off-street parking spaces on private property and 175 on-street parking spaces.

Residents who don’t have private parking have to compete for on-street parking with not only Metro-North commuters, but those who work and shop on Myrtle Boulevard. Some residents initially presented the problem to the town in 2010, and then quieted down when a two-level 118-space parking deck was constructed.

“That seemed to resolve some of the problem and people were finding places to park,” Town Administrator Stephen Altieri said.

However, Janet Scully, of 14 N. Chatsworth Ave., brought the issue back up in 2013 when she learned that the state legislature passed a law allowing the town to adopt a residential parking permit system for certain streets, which include the five streets in the Washington Square area, as well as Lester Place.

Lester Place residents have had access to those permits since 2010. Scully has since put heat on the town to get her parking permit and is eagerly awaiting the hearing on the proposed local law Wednesday and a subsequent vote.  

Despite the benefits of the proposed law, some residents oppose it because they are concerned it will make it difficult for them to have guests.

“It’s all meant to be a way to discourage commuter parking, which is an issue. But, as many people have said the cure that’s being proposed is vastly worse than the disease,” said Ralph Engel, who owns an apartment in the area.

Pat Konvalinka, who has lived in town for 45-plus years, said she belongs to a book group that periodically meets at her apartment and has several members who don’t live in Mamaroneck. She said they usually get together around 10:30 a.m. and sometimes meet for more than three hours.

In addition to guests, Konvalinka said she worries about building employees and utility workers who may have to stay for long periods of time during the day.

Scully said it boils down to who has private parking and who doesn't. The residents of 14, 17 and 21 N. Chatsworth have insufficient parking or none at all, she said, and want the parking permit system created.  

“I think at this point there are a fair number of people opposed and a there are a fair number of people in favor of the ordinance,” Town Administrator Stephen Altieri said. “I think the (public) hearing will be a good exercise for the Town Board to hear, what are the issues of concern and what should be the solution.”

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Create more parking space you have space near the metro north station on myrtle street of you can take land from memorial park and N Chatsworth

The bottom line is $$$. I live in one city & have to park in a different one due to day care facilities. The way "non-Residients" are treated in Westchester is appalling. We all pay County Taxes, but each town/village/city has "special rates" for their own & jacked up rates for others. We pay enough taxes & commuting costs so that all this parking should be free anyway.

To the Editor:

In 2009, the NYS Legislature passed Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1662(d), giving Mamaroneck legal authority to create a residential parking district adjacent to the Larchmont Metronorth station. Governor Paterson signed the bill into law on July 26, 2009 and Sen. Suzy Oppenheimer announced, “This legislation empowers the Town of Mamaroneck to take the steps necessary to significantly improve parking problems for the residents of this neighborhood, many of whom are senior citizens.” The law defined the boundary of the statutory parking district as “Washington Square, North Chatsworth between Myrtle and Edgewood, New Jefferson, Old Jefferson, Murray Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Leafy Lane and Lester Place.” The legislature imposed no obligation on Mamaroneck to create the statutory parking district, but once created, the town was legally obligated to give all the residents of the streets named in the statute all the rights, privileges and benefits of the state law.

What Mamaroneck did next was shocking. Instead of using the law for the benefit of the residents of Washington Square as the legislature intended, the Town Board greased the skids for a politically connected property owner, quietly passing a local ordinance for the exclusive benefit of just his street, Lester Place. On October 4, 2013, a resident of Lester Place told me during a chance meeting in the clerk’s office, “I have a friend who’s a lawyer who helped me with the town. He got us the parking permits.” It obviously didn’t occur to the Board ~ or the lawyer who engineered this breach of the public trust~ that in doing that political favor, Mamaroneck violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution for which they can be made to answer in damages.

After this news got around our neighborhood, the Town Board was persuaded to consider an ordinance for the benefit of the other five streets in VTL 1662-d and that ordinance is coming up for a public hearing and vote. A few Washington Square residents with access to private parking prefer the status quo as does the Town Board who thinks an expanded residential permit program will be too much work for our $33 million town government. Besides, they like the free, convenient parking on our streets when they go to the city and the many thousands of dollars profit from our parking tickets. Meanwhile the commuters continue to descend on our neighborhood like locusts.

But the clock is ticking on my Notice of Claim for Mamaroneck’s constitutional violations. If the Town of Mamaroneck doesn’t give us our parking permits this summer, I will ask a Federal judge to sort it out. One way or another, we are getting parking permits.

Janet Scully

Larchmont, NY

No street parking for over 3 hours from 9 to 5 on a weekday for visitors, people who care for the young children in the area, most people who work in the area, and everyone else who does not live in the area, plus the need for local residents to buy a permit to park on their own streets. Those with parking for a car in the Town facility at Myrtle and Chatsworth could not get a street parking permit for that car even if they live in the area. An ordinance created without local input, without a study, simply because one, repeat one, local resident threatened to sue the Town because she cannot park on her block (she got a permit for the Town facility, 1 1/2 blocks from her front door, but refused to use it because it was too far away). If you want to protect your right to park in the area, and to have your guests, employees, customers and others park there too, you must appear at the hearing on Wednesday, 6/4/14, at 8:00 pm, in the Court Room at the Mamaroneck Town Center, and let the Town Council hear what you think of these restrictions. You can also contact the Town Supervisor through the Town's website, townofmamaroneck.org (note the ".org").