Murray officials discuss how to handle on-street parking for businesses

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 23 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Business owners praised for ‘stepping up’ to address situation

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – Nathan Pace, an attorney from Medina, speaks to Murray Town Board members Wednesday evening during a workshop meeting. The town’s ongoing efforts to address on-street parking outside businesses was discussed.

MURRAY – Members of the Murray Town Board agreed Wednesday evening to monitor and assist businesses in the town in regards to on-street parking issues.

The town has spent two years discussing options for bringing businesses into compliance with its zoning, which Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti says requires businesses to provide off-street parking for customers.

The Town Board workshop session on the issue began with Vendetti reporting that the situation is much different now than two years ago in regards to compliance.

“There has been progress everywhere to varying degrees,” Vendetti said. “People have made efforts to control parking on the road outside their businesses.”

He noted there are still some problems, but the town has so far refrained from putting up no parking signs to, “Give folks a chance to address” the issue, Vendetti said.

Several business owners attended the meeting.

“We pull people from far and wide,” said Amy Machamer of Hurd Orchards. “We try to make them feel welcome.”

For Hurd’s, that has meant creating additional on-site parking and encouraging customers to park there.

Vendetti noted Hurd’s is the largest business affected by the parking issue and for that reason has, “seen the most dramatic decrease in (on-street) parking.”

Machamer asked the Board not to resort to no parking signs, calling them negative communication and a complete deterrent  to customers. “Help us to encourage our guests as opposed to punishing our guests,” she said.

Attorney Nathan Pace represented A&M Automotive and told the Board that he had been in contact with the state Department of Transportation. He explained the DOT has no regulations prohibiting on-street, parallel parking on state roads and is responsible for safety along its roadways. The DOT doesn’t see parking as a “safety issue,” Pace said.

He, too, asked the town not to put up no parking signs which would, “chill what Murray is,” Pace said.  He explained that most businesses along Rt. 31 and Ridge Road are located in former homes – “which are not amenable to a shopping center parking lot.”

Murray Town Supervisor John Morriss said “sandwich” signs like those used by Hurd Orchards can direct customers to off-street parking. Morriss said those signs are an effective alternative to the town placing no parking signs.

“It’s a good idea, a compromise,” he said.

Councilman Paul Hendel said he agreed that the town should not resort to no parking signs. “There has been lots of voluntary compliance, the best compliance is voluntary,” Hendel said. “The business owners are stepping up.”

Vendetti and Hendel both brought up the issue of safety, particularly when customers park across from a business and must walk across the roadway.

“I don’t believe we should wait for accidents,” Vendetti said. “It’s an unsafe situation. We are not requesting parking areas be paved.”

He said the Murray Superette at the corner of Rt. 104 and Rt. 237 continues to be an issue.  He said he would contact the NYSDOT regarding signs which block the view for motorists and requested the town put up no parking signs at that location.  The owners of the Superette were not in attendance at Wednesday’s work session.

The board also addressed the issue of on-street parking along Lynch Road outside the Holley Middle School/High School during special events. Residents told the board they continue to worry about safety issues. Doug Piedemonte said there is parking available on the Holley Central School campus near the old bus garage. He said he counted 140 parking spaces, which would accommodate the 70-80 car overflow which often ends up on Lynch Road.

Town Board members said they would discuss the issue with the School District and with the Village of Holley as the south side of Lynch Road is in the village.