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Glen Cove OKs downtown parking fees

Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi.

Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi. Credit: James Escher, 2011

Businesses opening in downtown Glen Cove with "intensified parking needs" might now have to pay as much as $3,000 per parking space under a fee schedule approved by city leaders.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 5-1, with one member abstaining, to set one-time fees targeting larger stores and restaurants, despite some residents' protests that the so-called Payment in Lieu of Parking, or PILOP, program will deter businesses from Glen Cove.

Supporters said PILOP will generate much-needed funds for municipal garage maintenance and parking projects.

The funds will "supplement the general tax burden" used to maintain city parking garages, Mayor Ralph Suozzi said.

For businesses needing additional on-street parking or municipal garage space for customers, the first five spaces are free, the sixth through 20th spaces cost $750 each and every space after that costs $3,000. Residential or mixed-use developments pay $3,000 per space.

Currently, only the downtown piazza development will be impacted by PILOP, facing a $402,000 fee for 134 spaces on city streets and in city lots.

Resident Zefy Christopoulos said at the meeting that the city's empty storefronts have a lesser chance of being filled thanks to the parking fees. "We need to entice, we need to work harder and we need to hold out a carrot" to potential businesses, she said.

GOP councilman Anthony Gallo Jr. voted against the fees, which have been on the council's agenda since late May, saying, "It'll absolutely discourage businesses from coming in here." He said residents he polled were against the fees.

Suozzi said a fee can be waived if it's a "stumbling block" for the business.

Councilman Reginald Spinello, an Independence Party member, voted for the fees and called PILOP "misunderstood." He said he believed the fees should have been even higher and added that they would impact only larger businesses.

"If Glen Cove is right for them, paying a thousand or a couple thousand for a chain [store] is nothing," he said.

Piazza developer Michael Puntillo couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

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