Business owners have complained that LIRR commuters are parking in...

Business owners have complained that LIRR commuters are parking in spots used by store employees and customers instead of the designated LIRR parking spots to avoid purchasing the required $35 permit in Locust Valley. (Aug. 8, 2013) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Oyster Bay Town Board changed parking regulations Tuesday at two lots in Locust Valley to give customers of area merchants better access to spots they complained were being monopolized by commuters.

The changes at lots LV-1 and LV-2 came after members of the Locust Valley Chamber of Commerce complained at a July town board meeting.

They met on site with town officials in August to discuss merchant complaints about early-morning commuters dominating the spaces in the two free lots between Forest Avenue and the Locust Valley Long Island Rail Road station.

Here are the changes:

LV-1 north side, 18 parking spaces will be designated for four-hour parking and 17 as "Permit Required" spots.

LV-1 south side, 97 spaces designated as "Permit Required" and 35 for no permit parking.

LV-2, entire field restricted for no parking 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and on the west side 17 spaces designated for four-hour parking.

"After extensive conversation back and forth, a happy medium has been found and an amicable solution that will benefit both local merchants as well as the patrons of the Locust Valley train station has been established," town spokesman Brian Devine said.

Asgeir Asgeirsson, a chamber board member and owner of the G. Willikers gift store at 22 Forest Ave., said of the town that "they have extended themselves. It's all good."

He added Lot 1 is being repaved by the town and should be done by Thanksgiving, and that will help merchants during the holiday shopping season.

Merchants said the parking problem had been compounded by the closure of West Shore Road in Mill Neck because of damage from superstorm Sandy. The closure spurred Bayville and Centre Island residents to travel to Locust Valley to catch the train rather than go to Oyster Bay, Syosset or Hicksville. Although the road reopened in June, merchants said many commuters continued to use the Locust Valley lots.

"It's been a long time since Sandy, so we're hoping to move forward," Asgeirsson said.

Merchants said before the changes approved Tuesday, commuters either parked before the designated 7 a.m. time or they parked on Forest Avenue in two-hour spots but were not ticketed by county police.

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