Amidst allegations of unethical behavior and personal vendettas, and after a contentious 3-2 vote, the village council approved the creation of a short-term parking zone for Circle Avenue, north of Madison Street.
Currently there is no parking alongside the old Krader-Wolf Building, which houses a number of businesses including Healy’s West Side and Jimmy John’s and is partially owned by Commissioner Mark Hosty. The parking begins north of the building and is marked as two hour parking.
The new ordinance will move the no parking sign north one parking space, creating one new parking spot and changing an existing spot into two “15 minute only, with hazards” parking spaces for the building.
The ordinance is intended to relieve a hazardous traffic situation at that corner and to accommodate fast food patrons for Jimmy John’s.
The hazardous traffic situation, said Commissioner Patrick Doolin is created by “delivery vehicles that are parking up on the sidewalk.”
The vehicles stop traffic in the northbound lane, forcing other drivers around the trucks, crossing the double yellow line and driving onto the southbound traffic lane, officials explained.
“If there are no delivery vehicles and no cars going to southbound traffic, then there is no discussion at all,” Doolin said. “The discussion is created by the traffic hazard that exists there. You can’t separate the two.”
Discussion on the matter turned contentious when Doolin insinuated Commissioner Mark Hosty was actually part of the problem, saying beer delivery trucks for Healy’s West Side create the hazard. Doolin said he would not vote to accommodate the business until the owners assumed responsibility and forced the trucks to park elsewhere, thus avoiding the hazardous situation. Mayor Anthony Calderone insisted that the delivery truck and 15 minute parking issues were separate.
“Trucks double parking is a whole separate issue,” he said. “That doesn’t have anything to do with the 15 minute parking. When the issue about trucks double parking comes in, that compounds the conversation by interjecting cars having to go into southbound lanes. The diatribe ended up being a conversation about everything except the issue before us.”
Doolin insisted the issues were the same.
“It is not a Jimmy John’s required spot, the problem is the entire building,” Doolin said. “I watched business owners, Commissioner [Mark] Hosty included, take up public parking spaces on the street. Is the problem the people who are in the building or the location? I think it is the people.”
Hosty responded by calling Doolin’s comments a personal attack and saying the problem was not the owners but one of enforcement by the police.
“On several occasions I have had conversations with the police to ticket any beer trucks parked on the east side of Circle,” Hosty said, adding that if the police choose not to ticket, then it should not be the businesses’ fault.
All commissioners agreed the current layout of the area presents a hazard and, as Commissioner Theresa Steinbach pointed out, the change will affect parking for the entire street.
“If we remove the no parking sign we are going to be losing another parking space,” she said. “I couldn’t be in favor of this, mainly because it means losing a parking spot.”
Commissioner Timothy Gillian, voted in favor of the change.
“All up and down Madison there are significant parking issues,” he told council members during the discussion. “There will continue to be, until we can finally address the problem. In the interim there will be issues like this to arise that will come up for this council to deal with, and this seems like a relatively simple solution. We have to be flexible.”
Gillian also told Doolin and Steinbach that voting no just because the business owners aren’t doing their part is wrong.
Steinbach responded, stating she was not voting based solely on the action or inaction of business owners.
“I don’t see it as an arbitrary decision,” she told Gillian. “I don’t think all of the options have been utilized, not only on the enforcement side but on the occupants’ side.”
Following the vote, in which Hosty, Gillian and Calderone voted yes, and Doolin and Steinbach voted no, Doolin questioned Hosty’s ability to make an objective decision on this matter, given his involvement as an owner in the building.
“Statements have been made that [Hosty] has ownership of the building,” he said. “This is a situation where if he does have ownership, then he should have recused himself from voting.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone attempted to stop discussion on Hosty’s vote, but when faced with arguments from Doolin and a vocally supportive crowd, he turned to Hosty and allowed him to respond to Doolin and the crowd’s allegations.
Claiming Doolin was against progress, Hosty responded that he was not Jimmy John’s landlord and that the request came from them, not Healy’s West Side, which Hosty manages.
“[Hosty] has proven himself nothing short of immature,” Doolin said after the meeting. “He claims he has a personal financial interest in the building. If [Jimmy John’s is] a tenant of his, he gains financially. … He recused himself when the vote for the variation [on the building] was made. Why would he on one and not on the other?”