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December 26, 2013

Small parking changes to have public hearing

Cooperstown Crier

---- — The Cooperstown Board of Trustees set a public hearing for Jan. 27 to make small changes to the paid parking laws.

At the village’s monthly meeting on Dec. 19, the trustees voted unanimously to hold the hearing on their plans to increase the price of all-day parking at Doubleday Field from $10 to $14, extend the paid parking in that lot through Columbus Day, and lower the parking permit fees to $15 from $25 for additional permits to a single household.

At a special meeting on Dec. 11, the trustees considered many other changes, including changing the price of on-street paid parking, changing the times of the paid parking, extending the area for paid parking and changing the length of time on the on-street parking spots from two hours to four hours.

 “The overall sense, once we got into discussions, was let’s have a whole year where it works smoothly, since it did not work smoothly at the beginning, before we consider making major changes,” he said.

Katz and the trustees also indicated that they hope to improve signage around the parking machines and spaces to ease confusion and waiting times. 

“That’s kind of the traditional problem with parking machines,” Katz said, “not just here in Cooperstown. I went to Albany last week and I saw the same thing there. People get up to the machine and once they get there, then they have to stop and read about how to operate the machine. It creates a lag time.”

“That’s where a lot of time is lost,” added trustee Jim Dean. “It is not putting the money into the machine. It is that they wait to read the instructions until it is their turn. It would be better if they could read about it while they are waiting in line.”

The trustees set two other public hearings for Jan. 27: 

One hearing will be to set up an outdoor eating area law, allowing the village to issue annual permits and regulate the use of outdoor space to insure that pedestrians have adequate space to walk around the eating areas. Enforcement of the eating areas would be handled by the police department, which could issue tickets to offending businesses.

The other hearing will be to amend overnight parking regulations. 

The trustees also held a public hearing on parking at the recent meeting, voting 7-0 to ban overnight parking in village-owner spaces behind the Cooperstown Fire Hall. 

“This is pretty limited,” trustee Bruce Maxson said.

Katz said that historically there have been issues with residents parking in spaces that limited the department’s emergency response capabilities.

“There were a couple of instances when someone was parked there … and an ambulance couldn’t get out. That’s horrible,” he said.

In other actions, the trustees unanimously voted to:

Move all village accounts to the Bank of Cooperstown because of higher interest rates. Lou Allstadt recused himself from the vote, which passes 6-0.  

Go to bid on village sales of banners at Doubleday Field. The Cooperstown Hawkeyes, a previous tenant at the field, had the right to sell banners, but the village had not sold their own banners. The trustees also voted buy the website domain from Todd Kenyon. Kenyon had told the village that he would sell it to them as cost, believed to be about $100.

Rename the Chestnut Street Parking Lot, the Fowler Way Parking Lot.