TOM Parking District Bill Advances; Parking Deck Delayed

by Harriet Kline and Judy Silberstein

(May 29, 2008) A flurry of legislative, administrative and construction activity is bringing change to the parking situation in Mamaroneck Town near the Larchmont train station and adjacent neighborhoods. On Tuesday, May 27, Assemblyman George Latimer announced the passage of a bill to authorize creation of a residential parking district in Washington Square. On Thursday, May 29, the Mamaroneck Town Board held a special session to discuss details and schedules for construction of a new parking deck to be built by FC-Mamaroneck LLC at Myrtle Boulevard and North Chatsworth. And at their last meeting, on May 22, the board refined its plans for temporary parking to accommodate permit holders who will be displaced by the construction.

“Everyone’s a little anxious to resolve the parking in the Washington Square area,” said Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri. “The overall parking plan incorporates the new deck, the on-street resident parking and some changes to provide for short-term parking along Madison and Myrtle for those who patronize the businesses.”

Parking has always been tight in the area, which has a number of multi-story apartment buildings – many of them built before zoning codes required parking spots for every unit. Some of the older buildings have no accommodation for vehicles. Others have parking lots, but not enough spaces for all the cars owned by tenants and visitors. Apartment dwellers, train commuters, business owners and their patrons compete for the relatively small number of legal spots on the streets and in the municipal lots.

Home Rule Request for a Residential Parking District: Round I

Deciding that the parking situation had “become burdensome for residents,” the Mamaroneck Town Board passed a resolution on January 14, 2008 to petition New York State to allow the creation and operation of a permit parking district on 6 residential streets: Washington Square, North Chatsworth between Myrtle and Edgewood; New Jefferson; Old Jefferson; Murray Avenue between Myrtle and Leafy Lane; and Lester Place. Establishing the parking district entails amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which requires granting of a “home rule request” by New York State.

Calling from the floor of the Assembly, Mr. Latimer reported on Tuesday, that Mamaroneck’s home rule request had overcome its first major legislative hurdle – passage by the Assembly.

“I talked with Senator Oppenheimer’s office and they’re taking the ball from here,” reported Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe. “They’ve been very helpful - as has George. I’m hoping and praiying they get it passed before the session ends [in three weeks.]”

The next step is for Governor David Paterson to sign the bill. It then gets kicked back to the Mamaroneck Town Board, which must enact its own legislation.

Although the new parking district will relieve area residents from having to compete with non-residents for street parking, some view the new scheme as a "dubious achievement." Peg Cozzi, who is on the co-op board at 21 North Chatsworth noted that under the new plan residents will have to pay for a permit, whereas street parking - if you can find a spot - is now free.

Start of Parking Deck Delayed Until July 14

At a special meeting on Thursday afternoon, the board unanimously amended its contract with Forest City-Mamaroneck LLC to extend the start date for the construction of the parking deck on Myrtle Boulevard. The new start date is July 15, 2008. The initial agreement, approved on April 2, specified that FCM commence construction on June 2, 2008. (See: Myrtle Blvd Deck Construction.)

The extension is based on lengthy engineering reviews conducted by the Town staff and consulting engineers Griggs and Davis of Scarsdale. Several engineering problems have had to be resolved and now they need to be integrated into the bidding and pricing process.

Forest City is constructing the parking deck at no expense to the Town, and because the delay is due to the Town's consultants, the developer will not be penalized for starting past the date specified in the original contract.

According to Mr. Altieri, the new plans call for the inclusion of an “elastomeric waterproofing membrane system” to resolve issues having to do with potential water damage to the upper deck steel components and beams as well as possible seepage of water to the lower deck. The proposed membrane system is used in a number of decks in Westchester County.

Temporary Parking Will NOT Require Use of Memorial Park

When construction does start on the parking deck, current permit holders will have to find temporary accommodation elsewhere. The board had voted reluctantly in April to carve out a temporary lot in the field at Memorial Park. (See: TOM Approves Temporary Parking in Memorial Park. However, that action was rescinded last week.

“That was because we discovered that in the past week, when we sold our commuter parking permits, we didn’t sell as many as we expected,” explained Mr. Altieri.
“So the commuters that park on Vine, will be moved into (TOM) Lot 1, (the big lot on Myrtle). And the temporary parking for Lot 3 will be on Vine Street."

Town Clerk Christina Battalia has already informed Lot 3 permit holders that a possible date change is coming. Another message will alert them to the new July 15 start date.