Hearing set for 3-hour parking limits downtown

03/22/2013 4:00 PM |
Riverhead's Summerwind Square

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The municipal parking lot behind the Summerwind Square apartment complex and East Main Street stores and restaurants.

A public hearing is set for April 16 on a proposal to institute three-hour parking limits for cars parked in a section of the lot south of East Main Street in downtown Riverhead.

The measure has the backing of the town’s parking district advisory committee, according to Ray Pickersgill, who is a member of that committee as well as president of the Business Improvement District management association.

The Town Board voted Tuesday to schedule the hearing, set to start at 7:15 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

Councilman John Dunleavy, the Town Board liaison to the parking committee, proposed the limits in anticipation of the opening of the Summerwind Square apartment complex on Peconic Avenue.

The limits are designed to prevent apartment residents from parking in spaces immediately behind the East Main Street stores, Mr. Dunleavy said. Under the proposal, Summerwind residents would instead be able to park in spaces in the southern portion of the parking lot.

The proposed restricted area is described in the public hearing notice as “sixty parking stalls immediately south of the stores that front on the south side of East Main Street between Cody’s BBQ & Grill and Tweeds Restaurant, extending in a southerly direction, terminating at the light posts located in said parking lot.”

“There is already a two-hour parking limit in this area, but the town took the signs down because there was plenty of parking available,” Mr. Pickersgill said in an interview.

The prospect of the Summerwind opening changes that and makes the time limits necessary, he said.

South of the light poles, 115 spaces parking spaces are available where Summerwind residents can park day and night, Mr. Pickersgill said. Stores in the area have also agreed to have their employees park toward the south end of the lot, nearer to the river, he said.

But Ray Dickhoff, one of the Summerwind Square owners, said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting that restaurants that book parties and live entertainment often do so for four hours.

Rather limit hours, he said, the town needs to come up with a plan to address downtown parking, moving  forward, because the downtown zoning currently allows for up to 500 apartments.

Supervisor Sean Walter said the town will have to change that zoning because there’s not enough parking for 500 apartments in the area.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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