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New parking restrictions added near Northport winery

The owner of Del Vino Vineyards in Northport

The owner of Del Vino Vineyards in Northport says the new parking rules are unfair. Credit: Johnny Milano

The Town of Huntington has added parking restrictions to the residential streets near a Northport winery after neighbors complained about customers parking on their blocks.

The new restrictions surrounding the Del Vino Vineyard prohibit parking on both sides of Norwood Road between Starlit Drive and Russell Court, and both sides of Starlit Drive for 700 feet south of Norwood Road, on Mondays to Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Parking is prohibited on the west side of Sound Court at all times.

The Huntington Town Board voted unanimously 5-0 in favor of the restrictions at the Oct. 16 board meeting.

Frederick Giachetti, who owns the winery on Norwood Road with his wife, Lisa Giachetti, called the regulations "unreasonably unfair."

"The legislation is designed specifically against my wife and I," he said in a phone interview. "It does appear to be punitive in nature." He later added, "You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to realize that you're not supposed to design laws specifically for any particular individual."

Asked if he would challenge the new parking restrictions, Giachetti said, "my wife and I are reviewing it right now, and we're doing our best to understand it."

"The parking that's been going on on the streets there is causing a traffic hazard," said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who co-sponsored the parking restriction resolution with Councilman Eugene Cook, in a phone interview. "So in order to avoid that traffic hazard, it was our collective decision to pass these no-parking restrictions."

Cook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 The vineyard began operating in November 2018, after opposition from town officials and residents had delayed its opening for years.

Neighbors of the winery complained about customers seeking street parking in the surrounding neighborhood once the 120-capacity Del Vino parking lot is full. The winery serves wine and tapas in the tasting room and also hosts live music events and weddings.

Tom Ryan, who lives on Norwood Road and lobbied for parking restrictions, called the new changes "a mixed blessing."

"It's something we wanted, but street parking is going to be tough now," he said in a phone interview. "But we feel it's the lesser of two evils." Ryan said Starlit Drive is "invaded" by cars on weekends, and neighbors have resorted to placing obstacles on the street — "garbage cans, traffic cones, whatever they can find to prevent people from parking around there."

Giachetti, who also lives in the neighborhood, said some of the neighbors resent the winery's existence and their complaints verge on "unreasonable."

"These are truly my neighbors, and I don't want them to be upset," he said. "My wife and I work very hard each and every day to make sure that we address all of their concerns. But sometimes it can get unreasonable." In particular, he said the effort to prevent parking with obstructions was over the top. "Putting garbage and debris in the roadway, blocks of wood to prevent people from parking in front of their house — at times to me it looks a little childish," he said.

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