Saugerties village trustees open to revising proposed new parking law

Village trustees are thinking about giving residents without parking options more leeway after they got feedback at a public hearing on the new proposed parking law on June 18.  Among other stipulations, the law would mandate drivers move their cars every 16 hours in municipal lots, including in overnight spaces. Those in violation could face a $250 fine, have their car impounded or be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail.

According to Mayor Bill Murphy, this draft is a “work in progress,” and another public hearing will take place after trustees give the issue more thought.

“I don’t live alone, I don’t have a driveway, I don’t have any place to park,” said Stacey Estrella. “I travel as a consultant — who moves my car when I’m not here? This is what I’m saying. I’m in one of those situations. Where do I park?”

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Among proposed solutions were parking permits for taxpaying homeowners. Renters, however, were not included in this potential fix — landlords, Murphy said, would be responsible to provide their tenants with parking spots.

“The main part of this law is to get rid of the people who just leave their vehicle in the parking lot and think they can store them there for a year at the time,” said Murphy. “The police said they had no teeth to remove them. That’s why we had to put a law in place, people were abusing the privilege. I know [there are a lot of people in the village] who are local to the lots that don’t have driveways, or off-street parking at their homes, and part of my concern with the law was addressing that.”

Murphy said the municipal parking lots were a “privilege” that some residents were abusing; according to Police Chief Sinagra, the village put itself in a legally perilous situation when towing delinquent cars under the old parking provisions. 

Under the proposed legislation, the 16-hour limit would be suspended during weather emergencies and snow removal. Overnight use of municipal lots would be limited to 14 days with a permit (which can only be issued once every 60 days) and two nights without one.

The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 2; Murphy said he wasn’t sure when another public hearing for the parking law would be held.

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