By Danny Schrafel
A Northport business owner is urging town officials to open a 56-spot parking lot at the Woodbine Marina to non-maritime parking.
In an email to town and village officials, Flemming Hansen, a former chairman of the Northport Chamber of Commerce and owner of Copenhagen Bakery on Woodbine Avenue, said that, on July 18, more than 50 of the spots in the Woodbine Marina were available, but the lot was off-limits to non-boaters.
Leaving that many spots open amidst the village’s parking crunch “makes no sense,” he said.
“It’s a total waste of real estate,” Hansen said. “Northport has a parking problem… there’s no way they’re ever going to use all those parking spots [in the Woodbine Marina lot].”
And, on the Fourth of July, he said 24 of the 56 spots were taken – 10 by permit holders for Woodbine Marina, and 14 by drivers without permits.
Hansen called for equal enforcement of parking regulations in Northport Village, something he said is sorely lacking.
“The harbormaster is vigorously enforcing parking, Northport is not – how ironic,” he writes in the July 18 email.
Vigorous enforcement, town spokesman A.J. Carter replied, is a contractual obligation, and opening the lot wouldn’t work during the boating season.
“Contractually, the boat owners who have slips at the Woodbine Marina are also guaranteed a parking space,” Carter said. “There are 56 slips at the marina and, coincidentally, 56 parking spaces.”
Because there had always been 56 spots in the lot, using the Woodbine lot for village parking was an option. However, that’s no longer an option since the newly expanded, 56-slip marina opened in late May. The marina previously had 36 slips.
“The town has tried to be understanding of the general parking situation and has allowed non-slip-holders to park in the lot on slow days, but there is no predictability, in season, as to what will constitute a high-demand day,” Carter said.
The lot’s gate attendant, Carter said, posts a sign on busy day warning non-slip holders that they are subject to being ticketed if they park in the lot.
“In the fall and winter, of course, this is not a problem,” the town spokesman said.