The Islandia Village Board restricted parking on a public street near Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino to employees only and doubled fines to discourage other drivers from parking there, officials said.
Islandia Mayor Allan M. Dorman said during the Tuesday meeting the change is intended to control traffic in the area and free up spaces for workers at Jake’s 58, Long Island's first video gambling operation.
Village lawyer Joseph W. Prokop said the 4-0 vote limited parking on Kosciusko Street to everyone “except for employees of the neighboring property” while setting fines for nonemployees at $100.
Islandia Deputy Mayor Michael Zaleski was not present for the vote.
Resident Richard Meyer, 42, who is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Islandia officials and Jake’s 58, had a heated exchange with Dorman during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting.
“Why are the residents of Islandia paying for this roadway and you’re giving it to Jake’s?” Meyer asked.
Dorman and Meyer each accused the other of being on an “ego trip.” Dorman asked Meyer to leave the meeting, and he did.
Outside village hall Tuesday, Meyer said the vote was not in the best interest of residents.
“We are paying to maintain it. We are paying to have it plowed. It’s a public roadway. It’s not Jake’s 58,” Meyer said. “He [Dorman] got $50 million from Jake’s 58, and he’s letting them do whatever they want to do.”Meyer was referring to $47 million that the casino operator agreed to pay to Islandia in tax relief payments over two decades.
Meyer is one of four Islandia residents suing to shut down the casino and overturn village law allowing gambling facilities.
The lawsuit filed in December 2017 was against Jake’s 58 owner Delaware North, the village and its board of trustees, alleging the board engaged in illegal zoning practices.The casino opened in February 2017.
Representatives with Delaware North did not return multiple requests for comment.
After the meeting, Dorman said while there are about 25 spots on Kosciusko Street: “Everybody is parking there, so that is taking the employees and pushing the employees out.”
Jake's 58 employees are identified by stickers on their vehicles' windshields, Dorman said.
Dorman said there is ample parking at Jake’s 58, and he’s hoping more patrons now park on South Bedford Avenue, which is adjacent to Kosciusko and offers meter spaces, which generates revenue for the village.
“If they’re pushed onto the street, you got meters there. Now, if the employees park in front of the meters, then we are not getting the revenue. We want the revenues," Dorman said.
Dorman said the board previously had approved placing employee-only parking signs on Kosciusko, which were installed a few weeks ago.