News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 14, 2013
New business poses parking problems

by Alice Wilkinson

Although Main Street parking has been a perennial problem in Stonington, it was parking on Bayview Street that occupied the selectmen at their February 11 meeting.

Behind The Factory Tavern on Seabreeze Avenue, which opened for business last weekend, is the parking lot for the Colwell Ramp, a public boat launch jointly owned by Isle au Haut and Stonington. There is no parking there for anyone not using the ramp.

The selectmen have been getting complaints that patrons of the restaurant have been using the lot.

Selectman Evelyn Duncan, who is on the Colwell Ramp Committee, asked the selectmen if they wanted the committee to write a letter to Graham Bolton, who owns the restaurant, of if they would rather Town Manager Kathleen Billings-Pezaris send it.

Selectman Chris Betts said, “I don’t want to send them a letter. Put a sign up: “No restaurant parking.”

Allegedly two customers had their cars locked up overnight when they parked in the mail boat lot. The selectmen discussed various solutions, including parking up the hill at the lot by the Methodist Church, but ultimately, Selectman Richard Larrabee said, “I think the business community should get together and work this out.”

The selectmen also discussed a letter from Holly Bohn, who inherited a small cottage on the water side of Bayview Street from her uncle Lloyd Brimigeon. She approached the selectmen at least twice about parking on Bayview Street, which would require amending a section of the parking ordinance. The reason there is no parking has to do with heavy traffic from Greenlaw oil company at the end of the road.

The selectmen recommended in the summer that she have a parking space constructed on her land beyond the railing.

Billings-Pezaris said there is “no hardship…nothing preventing her from putting in a driveway…everybody else had to do that.”

Addressing the selectmen, she continued, “the question is do you feel we should modify our parking ordinance to accommodate this?”

Board Chairman George Stevens said that a contractor had told him it would cost about $5,000 to put in a parking space.

Betts made a motion, seconded by Selectman Donna Brewer: “I move they can park on the road.” The selectmen then voted unanimously against the motion.

During the weekend snow storm the town garage exhausted its supply of diesel fuel, and resupplied the trucks using the fuel on the pier. Billings-Pezaris asked if they should add another tank to the 275 fuel tank currently at the town garage. After talking about the pros (it would be easy for the trucks to refuel while they were there) and the cons (too much space, connecting the tanks would be a fiddle) they decided, on Larrabee’s recommendation, that the town use the fuel on the pier, which they have legal access to.

Billings-Pezaris said the tanks had been topped up by Heanssler on Friday after the trucks had been filled, but still they ran out.

She said the road crew really deserved praise for the wonderful job it did with the snow this weekend—adding “and there were no breakdowns even though they couldn’t see.”