BY JOHN NUGENT
Mineola resident Theo Rabinowitz recently spoke out against overnight parking restrictions near the village’s Long Island Rail Road station that were enacted in December.
At the heart of the matter, according to Mayor Scott Strauss, is the increasing demand for parking spots in the downtown area as new apartments have been built and NYU Winthrop Hospital continues to expand its facilities in Mineola.
In a heated exchange with Strauss at a board meeting the night of Feb. 6, Rabinowitz claimed that the board passed the new ordinance “in the dead of night,” without any public discussion or notification of its intentions to village residents.
Strauss countered by contending the trustees are not legally obligated to submit a proposal of this sort to public debate.
Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira pointed out that this issue is not new.
“It has been discussed for years,” Pereira said.
Rabinowitz, a four-year resident of The Town House on 1st Street, said that with these new restrictions, he has no place to park overnight. He continued to question the board, saying that they do not communicate with the people and do not represent the interests of all the people.
Strauss said the commuter parking lots are meant to be used by commuters who take the train into the city in the morning and return in the evening. They are not for local residents who wish to store their cars for longer periods, thereby reducing the number of spaces available to commuters who pay an annual fee to park near the station.
In addition, he told Rabinowitz that his personal parking problems were not a matter that should concern the village administration.
Trustee Dennis Walsh said Rabinowitz was “gaming the system” by purchasing a commuter parking pass and not commuting.
Walsh suggested that paying $6 a day to park in the intermodal garage or buying a space in his apartment building were alternatives he should consider. Strauss added that there are 55 new parking spots on Station Rd., south of the railroad.
The discussion concluded with the trustees agreeing that they had no plans to reconsider their actions on the new parking rules.
In an unrelated matter, U.S. Marine Corps veteran William Urianek, a Mineola resident, addressed the trustees on behalf of homeless veterans.
He called for donations of blankets and clothing. Urianek, now 89 years old, was cited in a previous Blank Slate Media news story Dec. 21, 2018 for raising nearly $70,000 from the collection of over one million soda cans and bottles since 2004. All the money has been donated to various veterans’ causes.