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Residents, business spar over gridlock on Amityville street

An undated Google view of the Dinghy Shop

An undated Google view of the Dinghy Shop in Amityville. Photo Credit: Google

Residents of Amityville’s waterfront Timber Ridge condo development said customers of the popular Dinghy Shop sail and kayak outfitter across South Bayview Avenue are blocking their driveway and the dead-end road they share.

“It’s clogged with trailers, boat trailers, kayaks, trucks,” Tom Cardinale, condo board president, said at a Village Board meeting last month. “It seems to have gotten worse this year. It’s gridlock.”

In an interview last week, Dinghy Shop owner Jim Koehler said the complaints were baseless and stemmed mostly from one or two disgruntled residents of the 28-home development.

“No one has blocked their access,” he said. “I’m not doing anything illegal and neither are my patrons.”

Traffic and parking are contentious issues in Amityville’s crowded canal neighborhoods, where homes, restaurants and marine businesses cluster on the edge of the Great South Bay. Summer brings crowds, and sometimes ill-will.

For years, South Ketcham Avenue residents sparred with management and customers of Toomey’s Tavern about on-street parking, noise and public drinking. The problems were worsened because of limited access to Merrick Road. Village officials met with both sides and eventually imposed stipulations on the business that led to fewer complaints, and Toomey’s won renewal of its cabaret license this spring with little comment from residents.

At the end of the South Bayview Avenue extension, the Dinghy Shop and Timber Ridge also face an access problem, worsened because the road sometimes floods. Nearby James Caples Memorial Park fills with soccer and softball players during the summer. An unnamed road bordering the park that could provide some parking relief was closed and reserved for Fire Department use under Mayor Peter Imbert, Koehler said.

While Dinghy Shop customers parallel park and sometimes park in neighborhoods to the north, sales and special events bring as many as 50 customers to the shop at a time, too many for the area to handle, Cardinale said.

The spat appears to be headed toward Toomey’s-style mediation.

“We’re going to sit down and figure it out and balance it out for the interests of both parties,” Mayor James Wandell said in an interview last week. “Anytime business runs smack up against residential, there’s generally problems.”

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