Village gets earful on parking

The village clock parking lot on Main Street is seen in September 2023. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees fielded questions and comments on the proposed extension of parking enforcement hours in the village during a half-hour-long public hearing on Monday, July 1.

The board did not vote on the changes that evening due to the absence of trustees Marc Galvin and Andrew Quinn. While a quorum was present, Mayor Art Devlin said he preferred for Galvin and Quinn to hear what was said at the public hearing before taking the proposal to a vote.

Public comments generally veered away from the proposed parking enforcement hours themselves and instead focused on the board’s reasoning behind the changes — namely, keeping Main Street business owners and workers from parking on Main Street in the evenings in the hope of encouraging more parking turnover during dinner service hours. A number of residents also spoke about a perceived uptick in parking tickets being issued on Main Street.


At their June 17 meeting, village board members discussed extending metered parking hours in the village. Currently, enforcement hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The board is looking to extend these hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Board members have said that the primary goal behind these changes is to turn over high-demand parking spots on Main Street more quickly, preventing people from pulling in around 4 or 5 p.m., paying for only an hour or two of parking and then “camping out” for the rest of the evening while they work a shift.

“Spots on Main Street, what we really want is people that want to go shop in the stores, go to restaurants, go to the movie theater, that kind of thing. … That’s not what we’re getting a lot of the time, and that’s really the reason we have the (metered parking),” Devlin said at the hearing. “It’s really to make it fair. We have employees of stores or owners of stores that are just pulling in and parking at the end of our parking hours and taking all the spaces.”

Annual permits

Most residents in attendance said that they understood the need for paid parking in the village in terms of the revenue it generates, which averages $425,000 to $475,000 a year, according to village Treasurer Mindy Goddeau. Around half of parking revenue goes back toward maintaining the village’s parking lots and spots, while the rest goes into the village’s general fund.

Resident Christina Karl was among a group of people who did not necessarily oppose the proposed extended hours and the extra revenue they would generate. She said her biggest concern are locals’ parking options, such as the $200 annual parking permit for Main Street residents and employees, and how these options are executed and enforced.

“I don’t really oppose the extension of hours, but I think that the permit system in parking for employees needs to be dealt with before other changes are made,” Karl said. “(There are) not enough permit parking spots for the amount of permits that you issue, and then … those spots (are) filled with other people.”

The annual parking permit allows permit holders to park in designated permitted lots and spots around Main Street. The Lake Placid Police Department has sold 202 parking permits as of Tuesday, July 2. Police chief Chuck Dobson said that the department’s last parking audit in 2023 counted 116 permit parking spots.

Justin McGiver, a village resident and realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Adirondack Premier Properties, said that he’ll park in annual permit spots on the days where he knows he’ll be in the office all day.

But, if it’s a day where he has to run in and out a lot, due to the nature of his job, he typically has to opt for a metered spot, as they’re much closer to his office. Other times, he said permit spots will be taken by people without permits. He asked for “some discretion” in ticketing.

“There’s a lot of us who have to come and go. I’m not going to be there long. I’m not taking up a parking spot for long,” he said.

Devlin said parking has long been a problem on Main Street, which the permits are meant to alleviate.

“I hate to say it, but you’ve chosen to have a real estate office right on Main Street where there is no parking and it’s a problem and there’s not a lot I think we can do for you,” he said.

“So, no discretion, then?” McGiver asked.

“Like I said, we’re working to do something,” Devlin said. “But, to be honest with you, it’s not for owners or workers to take parking spots that we want the tourists or the people from the village (to use).”

Resident passes

North Elba resident Ellen Collins said that she recently parked on Main Street to run into a business and pick up her takeout order, and by the time she returned to her car, she was ticketed.

“If you’re insistent upon charging tourists who come here … can you give the people with our (resident parking passes) a break and we can come in and park from 6 p.m. on?” she asked.

Resident parking passes are different from the annual permits. They are free to all residents of Lake Placid and North Elba and allow pass holders to park in metered spots from 8 to 11 a.m. at no charge.

“It’s not (congested) year-round and we know it,” Collins said. “We have to remember that we’re a small town.”

Devlin said the board is “looking to do something for locals.” The village recently instated free 15-minute parking for people who need to run quick errands on Main Street.

People wishing to take advantage of their free 15 minutes must still go to a meter and punch in their plate number for the meter to dispense the 15 minutes, however — and as of Tuesday, the feature does not work on the Flowbird app.

“Part of the problem we had is that at 5 o’clock, enforcement ends. So, people just roll in and park that are working in places and they stay there all night,” Devlin said. “So, if you use what you’re talking about — the local sticker — those people get those and do the same thing.”

Parking tickets

North Elba resident Sean Donovan said that there seems to be an uptick in unfairly issued parking tickets lately.

“If the village police were writing speeding tickets for going two miles an hour over the speed limit, you would hear about it. It’s called discretion,” he said. “It seems in the last few weeks, it’s been almost a competition between these people writing tickets, and they’re writing people for minutes over their limit or, again, when there’s no need to. When it’s busy and it’s crowed and there’s no spots, absolutely write tickets. I have no problem with that. But when there’s nobody else there, I think it’s in bad taste.

“I’m not saying if you’re local you can disobey the law. Not at all. But it’s about discretion,” he added.

McGiver, who works on Main Street, said that he and his coworkers have “a little frustration” regarding parking enforcement.

“We have all collectively experienced in the last few months a significant increase (in parking tickets) to the point where it almost feels like being targeted,” McGiver said. “I’ve got a pile of tickets right now, I think, three of which I have marked down I was parked for under five minutes, two of which, in the time it took me to park, walk to the office, pull up the Flowbird app (and) pay, I already had a ticket by the time I paid.”

In other instances, he said, people in his office who’ve paid to park all day will have their parking expire between 5:50 p.m. and the end of enforcement at 6 p.m. and still receive a ticket.

“Somebody out there is not giving much leeway,” he said. “It feels a little predatory right now, and there’s a lot of frustration.”

Richard Smith, another resident, said that when he tried to park across the street from the North Elba Town Hall to attend the 4:45 p.m. hearing, the meter was out of order. He said that he hoped he wouldn’t get ticketed while attending the hearing.

Village police chief Dobson said on Tuesday that, while he didn’t have the numbers on hand, there has been an increase in parking tickets issued recently. He said this is “primarily” due to the fact that the village has hired two more parking enforcement officers.

“We now have parking enforcement seven days a week and more officers,” he said. “Three or four months ago, we only had one officer five days a week.”

Now that the police department is able to enforce metered parking all week, the number of tickets has increased accordingly, Dobson said.

Part-time parking enforcement officer David Lally attended the hearing. While offering his comments, he said that there’s “usually a 30- to 45-minute gap” between when a car’s paid parking has expired and when officers decide to ticket. He added that the meters will glitch and say they’re out of order if a customer inserts their credit card before they’re prompted.

Business owners

Isabella Celeste, a resident and Main Street business owner, said that the village’s parking policies are not doing them favors with locals.

“A lot of the locals don’t want to even come on Main Street anymore,” she said. “Everybody’s angry, especially here.”

She suggested that the village board consider new ways to offer free parking to locals or adopt a seasonal charging schedule. She also suggested that “warning tickets” be issued instead of abruptly ticketing somebody who hasn’t had the chance to pay yet.

Main Street business owner Skender Cucunjanin said that if the board is concerned about building the village’s workforce, it needs to “be concerned about how (the workforce is) going to work, where they’re going to park.”

“You’re hurting the local people,” Cecunjanin said. “(Parking is) a problem for the locals.”

“When you say ‘the locals,’ you mean the ones working for you or at other stores,” Devlin said.

“I mean, we just had (Celeste’s) complaint that people don’t want to shop Main Street because it’s too expensive. Well, now there’s not even going to be a place to park,” Devlin added. “(We’re) trying to get spaces open so that people who want to go on Main Street can, and so employees aren’t taking up all those spots.”

The village board is expected to continue its discussion of extending parking enforcement hours at a later workshop or meeting, Devlin said.

Its next workshop is at 4:30 p.m. on July 9 at the North Elba Town Hall, and its next meeting is at 5 p.m. on July 15 at the North Elba Town Hall.

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