Council Looks To Preserve Green Space

OSWEGO, NY – The Port City is considering prohibiting more parking spaces in the First and Third wards that would take away more green space.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Physical Services Committee, Councilor Constance Cosemento requested the City Attorney prepare a resolution that would prohibit the Common Council from accepting applications for the use of public space for the purpose of creating additional parking spaces between the curb and the sidewalk in the First and Third wards, unless the property is owner-occupied and there is not adequate space to construct a driveway on the premises.

There is a high density of rental properties in the First and Third wards.

The construction of parking pads between the street and sidewalk results in the loss of green space in the city and often also results in the blockages of sidewalks, according to the councilor.

“There is room for perhaps one car in these places and to put four cars in any neighborhood that is already stressed is asking for more problems,” she told the committee. “I take this very seriously. This does not prevent anyone from renting a property; it just prevents the owner from requesting use of the public space, the green space between the curb and the sidewalk, for parking.”

If the property owner is the occupant, without room for a driveway, could apply for a permit, she added.

“What if it is a duplex and the owner lives in part of it?” Councilor Bill Sharkey asked.

If it is already a duplex, they probably would already have parking, Cosemento noted.

“If the owner needs a parking pad, it would be permissible. But, if it’s for a rental, then it would not,” she said, adding “there aren’t too many duplexes that are owner-occupied in the First and Third wards.”

The council could amend the resolution if it had to, she said.

“I’d ask the other councilors if there are congested conditions in any other wards that we might want to consider. If we’re doing this, are there other wards we might want to consider as well,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz asked.

“I have several places in the Second Ward. Me, personally, I’d like to see it go case by case,” said Councilor Mike Myers. “There may be situations where we can do that and cases where we can’t; that’s obvious. I’d like to see it go case by case situation. Everybody’s situation is different.”

They aren’t sure if they are going to do the whole city, Cosemento noted. However, they have already identified the density (of rental units) in the First and Third wards, she added.

One recent request, she pointed out, would put two city blocks into a 100 percent rental situation. There are some very high traffic intersections located in the areas, she said.

“This can be done legally,” Gay Williams, city attorney, said. “The reason is granting of use of public space is at the discretion of the council. So, if the council wanted to decide in certain circumstances that it was absolutely not going to grant use of public space, it could do so.”

They might, for now, want to limit it to the wards where it has been shown there is a density as a justification. If that is identified in other wards too that would be for the council to decide.

It was pointed out that there are some existing pads that are intended for one vehicle but are being used to park several vehicles side by side.

“Hopefully, when we do our study that will be taken into account,” Cosemento said.

When parking pads were granted, the direction of the car was written out in the resolution, she said.

Some cars are now being parked perpendicularly over the parallel lines, however, there should be only one car there, she said.

Williams suggested wording the resolution to state the council wouldn’t accept any applications from properties that aren’t owner-occupied.

“So the only ones the council would be getting are the ones from owner-occupied properties. And then if that is granted, there could be a provision in the resolution that the use of public space isn’t transferable to a new property owner, unless it’s an owner-occupied property,” she said.

The full council will consider the resolution at its meeting Nov. 28.