A Chappaqua merchant has appealed to the New Castle Town Board to extend the two-hour downtown parking limit to three hours so shoppers can be more effectively accommodated.
Last week Tara Mikolay, of the King Street jewelry store Desires by Mikolay, wrote a letter to the town board asking for a permanent change after hearing from a series of unhappy customers who complained there isn’t enough time to shop without risking a ticket. Several of those customers have been ticketed, including one before the two-hour limit was reached, she said.
“It doesn’t give people enough time to shop local and the whole point is we want people to come into town, get their nails done, go to lunch and still have time to shop in one of the specialty boutique stores,” Mikolay said.
She estimated that the length of a typical customer visit to her store is close to an hour, since most come for a consultation or a jewelry repair or design. If a shopper also wants to go to one of the salons, they risk getting ticketed, Mikoly said. As a result, it could be influencing shoppers to stay away from downtown Chappaqua.
A couple of other downtown merchants also supported the request at least on a trial basis until more information is known. Michael Kushner, owner of Squires Family Clothing and Footwear on South Greeley Avenue, said the town should be enticing shoppers to stay downtown as long as possible.
Kushner suggested the town give it a try for the remainder of the holiday season and evaluate its impact afterward.
“I think everybody may have a different perspective on it, but from my perspective if it’s somebody legitimately spending their money in the hamlet, in the town, whether they go get their nails done or whether they get a cup of coffee or they come to Squires or any other store, the merchants should encourage that,” Kushner said.
Michael Kalesti, owner of Kent Home on South Greeley Avenue, said he would support a permanent three-hour parking limit. Some of the types of shops that are downtown trigger longer stays from customers.
“I don’t think two hours is enough,” Kalesti said. “I think it’s more time consuming to make your selection when you’re buying jewelry or furniture.”
Supervisor Susan Carpenter said she read Mikolay’s letter and would like to meet with downtown merchants to discuss the issue. She said Monday morning if the board can’t fit the matter onto its Tuesday night work session agenda this week, then a meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible.
“It’s something we are open to and something that we do take into consideration,” Carpenter said.
If there is a change, it would likely be on a trial basis to gauge whether there are any impacts, Carpenter added. Also, the town wouldn’t want to go to the expense of changing the two-hour parking signs unless officials know a change would be permanent.
Meanwhile, Rob Greenstein, co-founder of the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, said the organization has initiated a merchants-only online survey for downtown business owners.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/