Parking law debate roils Flower Hill board meeting

Parking law debate roils Flower Hill board meeting
The Flower Hill Board of Trustees. On Monday night, a motion to rescind a planned parking law failed amid intense debate. (Photo by Steven Keehner)

A motion to withdraw a proposed parking law failed amid heated discussion during a Flower Hill Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.

The proposed Local Law D 2022 is part of a larger ongoing debate between residents and the board that began last year. It is centered on concerns about non-residential parking in residential areas.

Last year, the village dispatched a traffic engineer on a tour of the Ridge Drive West parking problem area. He proposed ‌the village establish space on Middle Neck Road in front of the apartment building or limit parking on Ridge Drive West for certain hours. 

This prompted the introduction of what would become Local Law D 2022 in January. The amendment would prohibit parking on both sides of Ridge Drive West from 165 feet north of Northern Blvd to Peachtree Lane between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Hearings were, however, repeatedly adjourned. The village’s April minutes stated “the hearing was adjourned pending the receipt of the Middle Neck Road parking plan from VHB Engineering.”

All this culminated in a vote on Monday night. Before that, the public commented on the proposed law’s prospective withdrawal.

“At one of our meetings last year, one of the somewhat newer residents had said it appeared to him that the board has been interested in commercial businesses and their employees [over] the residents,” one resident said. “I believe that at this point, I mean, it is becoming clear that that is absolutely the case.”

The resident contended that parking by non-residents encourages inappropriate behavior. She cited at least five incidents, including suspicious vehicles, public urination and indecent exposure and said at least four required police intervention.

“For years now — it’s not months, it’s years — we’ve worked with you in good faith,” she said. “Unfortunately, it does not feel like you’re doing the same for us.”

Tensions escalated when the resident’s husband approached the platform next. He explained that despite his regular attendance, the repeated adjournments of hearings on the issue frustrated him.

“For someone who’s lived here 30 years, this rubs me the wrong way very much. I think we deserve better,” he said. “I’ve listened to you and you have a really—when it comes to me and my wife—you have a very condescending tone.”

He accused the village of not actually speaking to employees who park in residential areas. He said if they do, “you’re basically telling them you don’t have to do anything.”

Following that, the mayor put the issue to a board vote, with a majority voting to keep the proposed law open for future public discussion. More conversation and thought on the subject were needed, according to one trustee.

Later discussions centered on another proposed law, LL I – 2022, which would include the various Middle Neck Road changes. Rosenbaum said they would take no vote that night and that the discussion was only to prepare for future meetings.

The next Flower Hill Board of Trustees meeting will be on July 11 at 7:30 p.m. One can see it on YouTube or attend it at Village Hall.

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