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Guild demands parking or he'll 'pull the plug'

WATKINS GLEN—A Watkins Glen businessman demanded Monday that the village convert a municipal parking lot behind his newest venture to two-hour parking for his customers.
Jim Guild, owner of Famous Brands, said he needs the parking for Seneca Lake General Store. The re-creation of an old time general store is scheduled to open during the July 4 weekend in the former Ace Hardware store at Third and Franklin streets.
“I’m going to need two-hour parking,” Guild told the village Board of Trustees. “I want a show-of-hand vote. If I leave tonight and I don’t get your confidence, I’ll pull the plug (on the project).”
Guild didn’t get a show of hands, but did get assurances from the mayor and three trustees that they support the concept. The fourth trustee, Gregory Coon, was not part of the discussion because he came late to the meeting.
The 32-space municipal parking lot on north side of Third Street has no time limits. Trustee William Weber said some residents of a nearby apartment building park there.
Guild rejected the idea that the lot could be shared with longer-term parkers.
“I will not go on with the project unless the entire lot is available to customers,” he said.
Mayor Judith Phillips said a change in parking regulations requires adoption of a local law, which could take a month or longer. It also requires a public hearing.
“There will be a whole process that will let people make their comments,” she said.
Guild said he is seeking two-hour parking from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 1 to Dec. 31 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the year.
Trustee Nick Kelly said the only other municipal lot, behind Jerlando’s restaurant, does have a two-hour time limit. He said regulations should be consistent in the two lots.
“We need to address it,” Kelly said.
Guild said he has already spent $1 million in capital and inventory costs on the three-story, 15,000-square-foot building. He predicted sales tax revenue of $40,000 during the first year of operation and $80,000 the second year. He said the project will create 30 jobs.
“This isn’t pie-in-the-sky,” Guild said. “I know it can be done.”
The village board also heard a complaint by Jim Cain, owner of Tobe’s Breakfast House on Fourth Street, about competition from a hot-dog vendor in adjacent Lafayette Park.
Cain said the vendor set up shop less than 100 yards from his business and has the potential to damage his revenue from lunch traffic. The trustees earlier approved the vendor’s request to operate in the park.
“I completely understand his (Cain’s) argument,” Kelly said. “We have always allowed outside vendors to sell their produce. I think it would be fair to ask him (the vendor) to move on down the road from Tobe’s. It’s not fair to our taxpayers to allow a business to sell the same products without the overhead.”
The board agreed to suggest to the vendor that he move to Clute Park, but said it has no authority to force him to do so.
After a public hearing at which there were no comments, the board approved a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. In preparation off-and-on since 1991, the plan sets standards for development along Seneca Lake and the Seneca Canal inside the village limits.
The officials also approved higher water rates for village residents and water users outside the village beginning June 1.
After receiving two bids, the trustees tabled action on a recycling contract for 2009-2010.
The current recycling contractor, Arrowhead Disposal, bid $3,000 per month for twice-monthly pickup.
Casella Waste Systems bid $2,692 per month for twice-monthly pickup, but its bid was rejected because it was faxed and did not meet the requirements for sealed bids.
Arrowhead’s proposal was referred for evaluation to Village Clerk Donna Beardsley, the municipal budget officer, and Public Works Superintendent Mark Specchio.

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