Despite ongoing conversations with Peekskill officials about the visitors center that will take her parking, Homestyle Desserts owner Rose Sanca is holding out for 10 customer parking spaces and free employee parking—the kind she has had for 26 years.
Sanca has already undertaken to move the orientation of her store to meet the demands of the planned Lincoln Plaza Visitors Center.
The Peekskill Common Council and Mayor held Monday night with Sanca regarding the plans. However, Sanca said afterward that she wasn't satisfied.
At the meeting, Sanca’s architect friend Edmond A. Gemmola proposed two plans that Sanca would be happy with, one that would keep the center where it is currently sited, but allow for 10 parking spaces on the south end of Homestyle, and another that would move the Center back behind the current lot.
City officials said they leased that land to the Lincoln Museum in 2007, and that back then the museum folks said they did would not allow the land to be used for parking once the Center was built.
That means that if the city moved the center to another spot, Sanca would have to get the museum to agree to keep her parking lot where it is.
Mayor Mary Foster also explained that moving the building would require a redesign, which would require additional grant money and input from the funders and from the Lincoln Depot Foundation.
“We can’t act unilaterally here,” Foster said.
After about 40 minutes of discussion Monday night, Councilman Andrew Torres proposed that the city continue with the current plans, but work out an arrangement with Sanca for providing employee parking in a lot the city is building beneath the bridge across the street.
Sanca said she had spent $10,000 so far on work to flip her entrance to the south side of the store and would have to spend at least another $10,000 to finish the job.
She also objected to the cost of a $330 monthly parking permit—per employee.
“I would hope with my expenses the council would consider something less harsh,” Sanca said.
“If I am willing to spend (all this money) and am bending like that, it might encourage someone else to,” Sanca said, pointing out that the council should be encouraging businesses in the South Water Street area.
Torres said that the council should take Sanca’s expenses into account and work out an arrangement, perhaps a five-year plan, where Sanca paid a discounted rate for permit parking at first and worked up to the full rate.
Councilmember Patricia Reilly asked the council how many times they’d ever caused someone to have to flip their store, like Sanca has had to, and said that the city should “eat the cost of the parking.”
City Manager Rick Finn reiterated his concern that making a special arrangement might set a precedent that could cause problems for the city in the future.
Sanca said that she does not want to pay for employee parking.
The conversation ended with Finn telling the council, Sanca and her friends that the city would look at options for providing employee parking in the new lot at a reduced cost.
The Mayor added that the city is holding on to the construction documents until this situation is worked out, even though the documents are ready to go.
After the meeting Sanca told Patch that she didn’t express herself well enough but she will not be happy with anything less than free employee parking and the 10 negotiated spots in the south side of her building for customers.