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Confusion and anger over Lewiston Village parking restrictions

LEWISTON – The tug of war has begun as the Village of Lewiston takes steps to put stricter parking rules in place during Artpark concert nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Several residents appeared before the board last month complaining of neighbors charging for parking on their properties and bringing in people who were being unruly and inconsiderate.

To address the parking woes, trustees put a list of restrictions in place and had police deliver letters to residents.

However, residents who disagreed with the policy appeared before the board on Monday night and said they felt intimidated by police showing up at their doors and confused by rules that had changed several times.

Most agreed that paid parking should not be allowed.

Mayor Terry C. Collesano said after the meeting they had used police to deliver the notices because public works employees were busy on a sewer project.

“It has been confusing. We were letting you people do anything for so long and we then realized after we got complaints and dug into the laws that it was illegal to be parking on the right of way and if you do there has to be some limitations,” said Collesano, who apologized for the confusion.

Village Attorney Edward Jesella said it all started because, “neighbors were not being neighborly.”

“Most of this started because people started turning their property into a parking lot, charging $10, then another person would say, ‘Why shouldn’t I do it?’ ” said Jesella. “We’re going back to the way it should have been.”

The rules in place limit parking on several streets near Artpark, which will be marked on concert nights.

Vehicles parked off the road must be parallel parked and completely off the road; off-street parking is limited to three cars per residential lot; the use of lawns, front and back, as parking lots is prohibited; and the collection of money for parking is not allowed.

There was some discussion about how very large properties may have more allowances, but no changes were being made as the concert season winds down.

Jesella agreed that the parameters are still not clear, but said, “hopefully everyone will be on the same page by next year.”

Tascia Fitzpatrick, of Niagara Street, who had a lengthy discussion with the board, complained that residents had received short notice and officials kept changing the rules over the past few weeks.

“Nobody knows what you can and can’t do,” said Fitzpatrick, who said she supported the ban on paid parking, but had always invited friends and family to park at her home.