Negotiations stalled on Manhasset parking plan

Negotiations stalled on Manhasset parking plan
Manhasset Park District Commissioner Kenneth Weigand

Negotiations have stalled on an agreement between the Manhasset Park District and the Town of North Hempstead that would add up to 26 commuter parking spots near Plandome Road, Manhasset Park District officials said.

“We don’t need another meeting,” park district Commissioner Mark Sauvigne said. “It’s yes or no. All of our cards have been laid on the table.”

The agreement includes three components: increased parking enforcement on Plandome Road, the re-allotment of spaces behind Mary Jane Davies Green and the reconfiguration of a parking lot adjacent to the green.

The park district needs town approval as well as an intermunicipal agreement to enact all of the changes.

Discussions between the two entities, which have taken place over the past 18 months, culminated with a Nov. 14 meeting between park district commissioners and town officials, including Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

“I asked Judi when she would get back to us,” district Commissioner Kenneth Weigand said. “She said, ‘sooner rather than later.’”

The park district has not yet heard from the town.

“We would need to [temporarily] take spaces away” to make the changes, Weigand said. “It would have to be done during our light period in August. The clock is ticking.”

Carole Trottere, a town spokeswoman, said, “The town is working with the Manhasset community on parking options.”

Park district Commissioner David Paterson, Weigand and Sauvigne said one-hour parking restrictions on Plandome Road are not being enforced by the town, and the park district should be able help enforce the restrictions.

“People park on Plandome Road all day,” Sauvigne said. An inquiry by the commissioners found that in 2014 the town issued only six tickets for violations of the one-hour parking restriction.

Increased enforcement “is not a way to create more spots on Plandome Road but people would leave the spots faster,” Sauvigne said.

Progress on the issue has stalled because the town enforcement officers belong to the union representing town employees, Weigand said. The employees belong to a local chapter of the Civil Services Employees Association.

“There’s basically a perception at the union that we would be taking away their work,” Sauvigne said.

The re-allotment of spaces at Mary Jane Davies Green involves an estimated 14 vacant spots in the park’s 19-space parking area, Sauvigne said.

The spaces are currently available for rent to area merchants.

Park district commissioners said they would designate four of the spots as two-hour parking for park use and leave the remaining 10 spots for merchant and commuter parking.

The demand from merchants isn’t high enough to rent all 10 of the spots, the park district commissioners said.

The town owns the lot behind the park, so the park district would need an intermunicipal agreement to make the changes.

The last component of the proposed changes is the reconfiguration of a parking lot adjacent to Mary Jane Davies Green. By removing the fence on the eastern side of the lot and adding new curb cuts, the park district could add 16 spots, the commissioners said.

They said the demand for commuter parking in Manhasset far outpaces the supply.

“We currently have 534 commuter spaces and about 1,800 permits out,” Paterson said. “That’s why the lots are filled at 8 a.m.”

Because the park district owns this lot, the district would need town approval to make these changes, but not an intermunicipal agreement.

Weigand said he will reach out to the town regarding the proposed changes but the park district commissioners agreed that the decision ultimately rests with the town.

“I think the town is tired of listening to us,” Sauvigne said. “Unless there is a groundswell from the community, these delays will continue.”

Attempts to reach Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, who is also involved in the discussions, were unavailing.

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