CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Figuring out how to maximize downtown New Castle parking spaces is a lot like putting together a challenging puzzle but the town board may be close to putting the pieces together.
The New Castle Town Board recently held a work session to discuss how to accommodate both merchants and customers in downtown Chappaqua. This year, the town waived the $150 annual fee for merchant parking permits, and allowed businesses seven spaces for free. The town board said they have been deluged with applications from merchants for extra spots.
“There is no end in site to the number of requests for extra permits,” Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter said.
Carpenter said she suggested the Chamber of Commerce take up the issue with merchants but did not receive a response.
“We need to know how many spots merchants need and why they need them,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter and other town board members said spots shouldn’t be merchants only since the spots often remain empty.
Town Clerk Jill Simon Shapiro proposed eliminating 10 merchant only parking spots in a South Greeley Avenue lot and turning the spots into merchant parking or two hour parking for customers.
“In other parts of South Greeley Ave. we have merchant/two-hour customer parking and those spots are being filled,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro also proposed extending on-street parking on North Greeley past the post office, which would add 10 more spaces.
In 2012-2013, the town issued 347 merchant parking permits. When the town charged a fee, about 150 permits were issued per year. Downtown Chappaqua has 1,447 parking spots in total. Shapiro said despite the overwhelming amount of permits, she doesn’t think Chappaqua has a parking problem.
“We really haven’t heard customers can’t get parking or merchants can’t get parking,” Shapiro said.
Trustee Jason Chapin said the town needs to work with the Chamber of Commerce to try to accommodate merchants the best they can. Some businesses don’t need all seven spaces, while banks in Chappaqua have complained about needing additional parking spots.
“We want to please everybody but we can’t,” Chapin said. “If we give out more merchant permits then we have fewer spots for customers.”
Chapin also proposed giving businesses a set number of passes, and charging them if they want more than the set amount.
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