By Seth Daniel
Urging the utilization of a little-used stipulation in the City Charter, a former city councillor asked the Council on Monday night to reverse the decision of the Traffic Commission in adding two-hour parking signs along Washington Avenue in Cary Square.
Former Councillor Stan Troisi spoke against the two-hour parking signs at the Council on Monday as a member of the Cary Square Club – a club of mostly retired residents of the city who come to socialize on a daily basis and would find tremendous hardship with the new restrictions.
“We don’t think there is a problem,” he said, noting that the retired members would have to park long distances with two-hour limits and frequently move their vehicles. “I think this was a perceived problem. Making two-hour limits is going to create a problem.”
The measure was brought to the Traffic Commission a few months ago by Councillor Roy Avellaneda, who owns a new coffee shop and restaurant in Cary Square. Avellaneda originally requested parking meters, but was flexible in the solution for two-hour parking.
He said at the time that commuters often come to Cary Square to take the bus, leaving their vehicles all day and taking up valuable parking for businesses like his. He said having some regulation would help the flow of traffic. The Commission agreed to the signs last month, and forwarded its complete meeting report to the Council.
However, Troisi told councillors that they had the power under the Charter to give final say to any decision of the Traffic Commission – a power that is rarely used at the Council. That, in fact, was the case when the Council asked for direction, and Troisi and others asked that the Council not pass the item (#3) dealing with two-hour parking in Cary Square.
Karen Moschella of Off Broadway Dance relocated to Cary Square not long ago after having to leave her business’s long-time home in Prattville.
She said she has found no problem in her new home, and neither have parents. She pointed out that she is the only dance school in Chelsea and so there is great demand in the city and from surrounding cities for her children’s classes.
With the parking restrictions, she said teachers in classes would have to leave the children to move their cars, and parents would have to scramble to move their cars also – as most families are at the school for more than two hours at a time.
“I’m here for the children,” she said. “I have families that come from a long way away to be here for many hours, especially on Saturdays. I have employees who are here five or six hours…I can’t have employees leaving students in the classroom so they can go move their cars when they need to be in front of the kids teaching them.”
Avellaneda had to recuse himself from the discussion, but upon returning to the Chambers, he did address some innuendos made in the discussion that he had done something unethical.
“Every business in Cary Square (that wanted to sell) had to be approved first by Special Permit,” he said. “The zoning was incorrect…The City corrected that last fall…My actions, my activism and my pursuit of a business there spawned that action by the Zoning Board…There was nothing unethical. I was treated like any other person.”
Before that, however, the matter was held on the table for one week, meaning that the item did not pass the Council and the body used its seldom-used check and balance.
Councillor Damali Vidot advocated for tabling the measure for a week to learn more about what all of the residents would prefer.