Woodstock officials talk about overnight parking

Bill McKenna and Lorin Rose. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

The Woodstock Town Board once again discussed offering overnight parking permits in municipal lots for long-term apartment tenants and short-term renters while one Mountain View Avenue resident says it will only invite more problems.

At its regular meeting September 10, the board talked about the possibility of an overnight parking permit that can be valid for The Mountain View and Lower Comeau lots at $5 per night or $100 per year. Overnight parking is not permitted under current regulations, though enforcement was lax. Recently police have written more tickets and enforcement will increase with the aid of more streamlined ticket forms arriving soon, Supervisor Bill McKenna said. 

But that is of no comfort to Shira Fernandes, who lives next to the Mountain View lot.

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“This is Catskill Park, not Catskill Parking Lot,” she told the board. Fernandes said people regularly camp in their cars and several are parked for days at a time and are leaking fluids.

Fernandes said enforcement doesn’t happen and she seemed skeptical any stepped-up ticket writing will happen. 

Fernandes has complained about noise, abandoned vehicles and other issues with the parking lot before. She suggested using some of the money in the town parking fund to build screening fences for neighboring homeowners.

McKenna said enforcement is increasing and will continue to happen.

Councilman Richard Heppner noted the mixture of full-timers and short-term rentals make things complicated.

For short-term rentals, “you’re supposed to have one parking space per bedroom,” he said. “But we can’t go back in time,” he added referring to places that already existed before the new short-term rental regulations were enacted. He also expressed concern there is no easy way to make sure someone isn’t renting more bedrooms than their permit allows.

McKenna said short-term rentals should be denied for lack of parking spaces and he knows of at least two applications rejected for that reason. The Building Department checks to make sure the applicant has adequate parking during the required inspection, but that does not prevent someone from understating the number of bedrooms available for rent, some on the board noted.

Yet to be determined is how overnight parking permits for short-term rental tenants get distributed. As Councilman Lorin Rose noted, a tenant who pulls up on a Friday night isn’t going to be able to go to the town offices to get a permit. The landlord would likely have to purchase yearly permits and distribute them to the tenants.

No spaces will be reserved for overnight parking, so having a permit does not guarantee a space, though the Mountain View lot is rarely at night.

Another issue is how to address parking for the long-term tenants in the center of town, especially bordering the Tannery Brook Road lot, who have grown accustomed to free parking. Under the proposed permit requirement, they would be expected to pay up to $100 per year aside from the few spaces in the lot that are privately owned.

Funds transferred

The board voted unanimously to transfer $20,000 from the In Lieu of Parking Reserve to the Mountain View Parking Lot Capital Project.

The transfer was subject to permissive referendum, which means a citizen can petition for a town-wide vote. Nobody did, so the money, which was slated for improvements to the parking lot, was transferred.

The In Lieu of Parking Reserve is from businesses or developments that cannot provide enough off-street parking. In order to make the projects possible and promote business, the Planning Board allows a payment to the fund instead of providing the necessary parking. The fund is to be used to expand and improve town-owned parking.

Zena Road bridge info session slated 

The Ulster County DPW Highway Division will make a presentation at 6 p.m. September 17 in the town offices, 45 Comeau Drive, about reconstruction of the Zena Road bridge over Little Deep. The regular Town Board business meeting will follow at 7 p.m. and officials are expected to stay and answer questions from the board about the bridge project. ++

Nick Henderson 

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