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June 27, 2013

Village's paid parking results in lawsuit

The village of Cooperstown, Mayor Jeff Katz and the village trustees have been served. 

A lawsuit seeking to oust Cooperstown’s paid parking was handed out individually at a village meeting Monday night. 

The first person to speak during public comment was Brenda Berstler who filed the suit with attorney James Konstanty on Friday. Susan Lettis, a process server representing Konstanty, provided the court order to show cause of petition that has 27 supporters along with Berstler and her company, Savor Gracie Inc. The suit is returnable Friday, July 26, in state Supreme Court.

Berstler said the action was taken on advice of counsel to preserve the right of Cooperstown resident and business owners to legally challenge Local Law 3 of 2013, a right that would have expired June 25. 

“The result of paid parking implementation in the Cooperstown central business district on Memorial Day Weekend has been a startling loss of revenue,” she said. “This is catastrophic for the entire retail shopping area.”

Berstler said paid parking has been confusing for visitors, caused discontent among residents and created an atmosphere of general ill-will for all. 

“This is hardly the reputation Cooperstown, or any village, wishes to cultivate — particularly our historic village of national prominence,” she said. 

The owner of Savor New York at 171 Main St. called the $2 per hour fee outrageous, the signage inadequate and the machines confusing and malfunctioning. 

“There is a constant threat of expensive ticketing that encourages anyone, resident or visitor, to hurry up and get out of town,” she said. “It’s hardly the welcome that encourages people to wander our village to shop dine and ‘Savor Cooperstown.’”

According to Berstler, every business owner understands the need for working capital and constant overhead costs, just as they understand the need for improvements in Cooperstown’s infrastructure.  

“We are willing to work with the village to solve these issues, if our voices are given all due credence,” she said. 

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