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Squeezed for spaces: Some Bridge Street businesses want added parking

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO  Suggested one-hour parking spots would be against the fence and just past the gate as Route 114 curves down to Bridge Street.
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO Suggested one-hour parking spots would be against the fence and just past the gate as Route 114 curves down to Bridge Street.

A plan to create more one-hour parking spaces for Bridge Street businesses was met with approval by four Town Board members, skepticism from one and outright dismissal from a member of the audience.

Angelo Piccozzi, representing his family’s businesses on Bridge Street along with six others who petitioned the board to approve the new spaces, presented the idea at the Tuesday work session. Mr. Piccozzi outlined a plan that would create six one-hour parking spaces on the east side of Route 114 as it curves up the hill across from the gas station.

Mr. Piccozzi told the board that the current unregulated space along the fence is often used by boaters during the summer who park their vehicles and then are gone sailing for up to two weeks at a time “to Block Island.”

Also, some cars are parked for months at a time with “for sale” signs in the window.

The one-hour parking plan for six spaces, Mr. Piccozzi said, would in essence create 48 spaces in an eight-hour day during the summer season, and accommodate those shopping or having a meal on Bridge Street. Now, during the high season, lack of parking is significantly hurting businesses, he said.

Jason Penney, of Marie Eiffel’s Market, told the board that at a minimum, during the summer, the market loses 15 percent of customers who would like to stop in but pass by because there’s no place to park.

The new one-hour parking plan would be enforced by traffic control officers during the high season, the same as one-hour parking spaces on both sides of Bridge Street, Mr. Piccozzi said, with no additional employees needed.

Councilman Paul Shepherd said he’s heard from some businesses who said if the new spots were regulated, employees would have no place to park in the summer. Bob Cacciola of Corcoran, which has a real estate office on Bridge Street, told the board that most agents are not in favor of creating new regulated spaces.

One of them, former Town board member Ed Brown, now a Corcoran real estate professional, told the board it would be an unfair burden to anyone working on Bridge Street.

Police Chief Jim Read suggested a two-hour limit on the proposed spaces and Mr. Piccozzi and Mr. Penney were agreeable to the compromise.

The board will look into the matter again next week before holding a public hearing.

In other business: The board returned to tweaking the short-term rental law passed last moth, discussing registration and complaint forms. It also took up again the issue of defining accessory sleeping quarters as opposed to accessory apartments.

The Building Department has asked the board for direction to define the terms. Tuesday, Town Attorney Laury Dowd gave sketches to board members of a large space over a garage that contains two bathrooms, a bedroom, a separate area for a washer and dryer and kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, dishwasher and other amenities, but no oven, which could be construed as an accessory sleeping quarter and not an apartment.

Building Permit Examiner Lori Beard Raymond has told the board she and her colleagues are seeing similar layouts that look like apartments in the guise of accessory sleeping quarters, which the code defines as designated for “domestics, house guests and members of the family.”

The board returned to a discussion on what constitutes a kitchen, as they had on a previous occasion, with no resolution.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty reported that he, Mr. Shepherd and Animal Control Officer Beau Payne have met with school district Business Official Tim Laube about the district spraying Fiske Field to eradicate ticks. The district owns the field.

Mr. Dougherty said the idea to spray came out of a “complaint from a visitor to the Island  — a mother who said her kid got a tick or two.” (See Your Letters, “Ticks and T-Ball,” May 4).

The supervisor said that he, Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Payne have been urging the district to “do an education program rather than spray” and Mr. Laube said he would get a decision from the Board of Education.