Written by Betsy Abraham Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00
Village Hall was standing room only last week as the Westbury board of trustees conducted another public hearing on proposed legislation that would restrict overnight parking.
Approximately 150 residents crowded into Village Hall to voice their opinion on the proposed legislation, which would prohibit overnight street parking in specific parts of the village from 2 to 6 a.m. Exemptions would be granted in the form of a sticker if the resident has no driveway, is physically handicapped, or is required by an employer to have immediate access to a highway (such as police officers or medical workers).
Many meeting attendees raised concern over how these restrictions would affect overnight guests and company that stayed past 2 a.m. These concerns had also been raised at the two public forums the village held late last year.
Mayor Peter Cavallaro explained that residents could get temporary exemptions for overnight guests by calling or emailing Code Enforcement via a special hotline number or email address, which would be available 24/7. Residents would just have to tell Code
Enforcement the license plate numbers of the guests and they would not be ticketed. There would be a five day exemption for guests, a limit several people protested and that the board agreed to take under consideration.
Another major point of contention raised at the meeting was home investigations. To obtain a permit, homeowners would have to fill out an application and potentially have the Building Department come into their home to ensure there were no illegal residents.
Village attorney Dwight Kraemer said not all homes would be searched.
Many attendees noted that the proposed legislation was inconvenient, to which Cavallaro agreed.
“We understand there are problems and it’s not perfect, but the benefits will outweigh the inconveniences,” Cavallaro said. “It’s a small price to pay for implementing something like this.”
Twenty percent of the village, in the Sherwood Gardens and Birchwood neighborhoods, have already had this legislation in place for decades.
Karin Campbell lives in Sherwood Gardens and said that the legislation has made her neighborhood safer as neighbors no longer have to worry about strange cars parked in front of their house in the middle of the night and there is always a clear path for emergency vehicles.
“Yes it is an inconvenience but when you talk about the beauty of the community, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience,” said Campbell. “You adjust because at the end of the day we have a wonderful community.”
However, several meeting attendees seemed skeptical over the proposed parking change.
“I believe we should have the freedom to park where we want,” said one resident. “It’s not fair that I have to call and tell the village that my relatives are coming.”
The board stressed that no decisions have been made and that the legislation is still under consideration. The public hearing will be continued at a future date.
At the meeting, the board also approved to enact a resolution to exceed the tax cap. The village has done this every year for the past four years the state mandated two percent tax cap has been in place, but has never actually gone over the cap. As they’re putting the budget together, this resolution allows them to exceed the cap if they see they need to. They estimate this year’s tax cap to be 1.68 percent.
“It’s a protective measure,” said Cavallaro. “I fully expect the budget to be under the cap.”