LOCKPORT – The city has granted parking for a submarine sandwich shop that lost most of its parking area in a dispute with a developer.
However, Kim Milani, the owner of SubDelicious on Locust Street, said Tuesday she still would have preferred to buy the strip of land rather than risk losing the parking again.
Milani told The Buffalo News by email that Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey was opposed to selling any of the city’s right of way along the back of Milani’s building in case a developer wants to buy the adjacent privately owned parking lot.
SubDelicious customers, as well as those of other businesses in the building and users of Metro Bus 44, which starts and ends its run on Locust Street, had been parking for years in what was once a city-owned parking lot south of the sub shop.
However, the city sold that lot to Lockport developer David L. Ulrich a decade ago. On Aug. 8, Ulrich put up a chain-link fence around the lot, which prevented parking there. Ulrich said repairs were needed, but none have been done.
The city discovered that the north side of the fence actually was in the city right of way for Frontier Place, a two-lane alley between the building and the parking lot. In December, Ulrich had to move the fence.
Milani went before the Common Council Jan. 7 and Feb. 25 to say she wanted to buy a strip of land from the city to use for customer parking. Some aldermen, concerned about the long-term ramifications, suggested a lease, but Milani was reluctant to agree to something that might be canceled. The issue was referred to the city Traffic Advisory Committee.
Council President Joseph C. Kibler, who serves on that committee, said it decided March 16 to erect signs allowing two-hour parking from the Metro Bus stop to the east end of the SubDelicious building. The signs are up.
“We would prefer to buy or lease it. They don’t want to do that; this is what they offered,” Milani said in her email to The News. She said she pushed for the city not to sell any more parking areas.
“The mayor said she wasn’t comfortable agreeing to that, because if a developer came in, she wouldn’t want to not have the option of selling if they were going to do a big development,” Milani said.
McCaffrey said, “We have a sufficient temporary solution and she’s expressed that it’s satisfactory for her right now, and it’s satisfactory for the city right now.”
Ulrich’s parking move also harmed rival developer Elmer A. Granchelli, whose vacant Niagara Frontier Mall lies next to the SubDelicious building and can’t be leased without parking. Kibler said the city still is discussing the issue with the Granchelli firm.