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January 30, 2014

Village OKS parking changes

By Greg Klein THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The village will make small changes to its paid parking laws, but it won’t be getting security cameras anytime soon. 

At its Jan. 27 meeting, the Cooperstown Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend paid parking in the Doubleday Field parking lot through Columbus Day and raise the price by 40 percent to $14 per day. In addition, the price of parking permits for a multiple cars in one household will change. The cost will continue to be $25 for the first permit, but additional permits for cars in the same household will cost $15.

The changes were made after a public hearing in which no one gave comment. The only public comments came on a separate hearing, about establishing outdoor eating regulations for restaurants and both people who spoke were in favor of the proposal.

In that matter, the trustees voted unanimously to grant permits to restaurants that wish to have outdoor seating areas. The permits will cost $20 per seat with a cap of $200 per establishment. However the fees will be waved in 2014 and begin in 2015.

The trustees also voted unanimously to reserve space in the Fowler Way parking lot, formerly known as the Chestnut Street parking lot, for buses and recreational vechicles.

No vote was taken about placing cameras in the village. Mayor Jeff Katz asked each trustee individually for his or her opinion, and all six trustees spoke against the idea.

“I think the tone is against it,” Katz said dismissing the need for the vote, “but perhaps we will revisit it.”

Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert told the trustees that he was in favor of installing cameras.

“It would be nice for us, on my side, to have our own cameras,” he said. “I’ll continue to strive to get it.”

Covert said that the use of a camera at Seventh Inning Stretch during the shooting incident on Dec. 23 was helpful in identifying the suspect as the store’s former manager Barry Renert. He also said that he thought Renert might have been caught sooner if the village had its own cameras.

“It took four and a half hours for us to subpoena the rental car companies to see what kind of car he was driving,” he said.

The trustees cited concerns about privacy and many said they doubted the need for cameras.

“I’ve been here 40 years,” Jim Dean said. “I have never seen anything that would have me believe we need them.”

Added Cindy Falk: “My concern is how much individual freedom do we have to give up for a ‘what if?’”

The trustees also set a public hearing about non-conforming zoning for the board’s Feb. 24 meeting. The board will seek to amend the village’s zoning law to allow a business or residence to maintain a non-conforming waver if it changes ownership.

“I think this is a huge benefit to a lot of people,” Katz said.