To Sticker Or Not

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To sticker or not to sticker, that is the question. Is it better to mask the symptoms of an issue or face the real problem that is in question?

Robo calls, electronic boards, website outlines and general gossip spread news like wildfire about the real possibility the Village of Manorhaven was contemplating resident parking stickers.

In a village of less than one square-mile and population close to 7,000, there is a crunch! That fact alone should be an immediate tipoff of overcrowding and quality-of-life issues—especially parking. Add to the mix industrial employees, school and civic organizations, professional and religious groups, boaters and a recreational park/pool!

A major portion of this tiny village consists of multi-apartment buildings, two family houses and, worse yet, a frenzy to demolish single-family homes to be replaced by huge two family dwellings. This once sparsely populated beach village of small summer cottages has morphed into a mini-metropolis! The influx of people and builders continues.

One can readily understand the vehicle challenge that goes hand in hand with this conundrum. Land mass can’t be increased and might well be reduced as shore line areas succumb to global warming and rising tides. Solutions will not come easily—if at all. Like trying to park in Manhattan, circling a college campus or shopping mall in hopes of finding a place to put your car comes with the territory.

What to do? Perhaps one place to start is with zoning, codes, rules and regulations. That means what’s on the books and what needs to be put on the books has to be enforced vigorously. Development must be halted until some sort of strategy can be put in place. Maybe a take down one, put up one policy is called for. Lot coverage needs close monitoring. Curb cuts need creativity. Appeals for variances regarding height, architecture, etc. need to be scrutinized and tightened. Rental violations must be contained. Simplified and condensed parking signage needs to be clear and visible. Less is more!

But…more is going to be more when the Thypin Steel property is built upon. If a blind-eye policy is followed, it bodes big trouble for the infrastructure—road and sewer overload in particular. These 12 acres are located on Manhasset Isle, which has a single road in and out.
Resident stickers are just that, resident stickers. To be effective, it means creating a pseudo motor vehicles department to deal with enforcement, fee, appeals and applications for exceptions. What a “can of worms” will be opened! The village has a grant to revitalize its main street. The goal is not limited to beautification, but rather economic growth. Who is going to patronize these sticker-only stores? Unless shopper parking is provided—without the need of stickers—and a welcoming feeling abides, economics will fall flat on its face.

Perhaps the village should acquire a “For Sale” house, demolish it and create a landscaped parking area. Could the village rent space at certain existing lots during specified hours? The community church, the senior center, the VFW and the town park during off-season might be amiable to such an arrangement. Better public transportation, carpooling, biking and walking needs to be encouraged and supported. Pointing fingers, be they at certain ethnic groups or certain license plates, only exacerbate cooperation.

Short of creating a gated community, residents are going to have to adjust to the facts judicially as they can—with or without stickers.

—Barbara Mallon

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