Community Unites with Homestyle Desserts In Dispute Over Parking with City

Rose Sanca, owner of Homestyle Bakery, presented the city council with a petition of 2,650 signatures calling for an adequate solution to parking and had friends and family speak on her behalf at the April 11 Common Council meeting.

Peekskill City Council members have tasted ’ pies, cookies and cakes, but on Monday night they got a different kind of Homestyle taste, and it was not sugarcoated. One after one owner Rose Sanca’s friends and family approached the podium at the April 11 council meeting, asking the council to provide her with adequate parking once the Lincoln Plaza Visitor’s Center breaks ground. Sanca also provided a petition with 2,650 signatures calling on the city to work out a satisfactory parking situation.

Sanca’s current parking lot on South Water Street is on city-owned land upon which the city plans to build a Visitor’s Center for the this fall. Sanca is not satisfied with the city’s proposal for replacement parking: to provide metered parking at the south end of her store and permit parking across the street for employees of her 26-year-old business.

“By them making me go to metered parking, that’s restricting my business and setting me up for failure,” Sanca said in an interview. Sanca is also unsatisfied with the offered permit parking for her 22 employees, which costs $330 a year for each permit. She said that last Friday city planner Anthony Ruggerio handed her a letter that stated the parking offer, which is when she told him she was not happy with the paid parking.

Although Mayor Mary Foster was aware of the petition that had been circulating since March 10, Foster said that she and the council were surprised by Sanca’s presence and show of community support at the council meeting Monday.

“We are surprised Rose is here. We thought this was amicably resolved with staff,” Foster told Nicole Cirillo, a Homestyle employee speaking on her boss’s behalf at the podium on Monday night.

Cirillo collected signatures for the petition and told the mayor that the community members who signed were not happy. “As we told them what was going on, they weren’t shocked, but were outraged. They thought that it was mean and un-neighborly.”

“This council has a good reputation for helping businesses and you’ve helped me,” said Keith Bobolia, who owns Home Mason Supply, on Monday night. “It seems like you’ve bent over backwards sometimes to get things moving along…If there is anything you can do (to help), museums are nice, but Rose employs a lot of people.”

“I should be grandfathered in,” Sanca said, “I’ve been here 26 years.” Many community members who spoke on Sanca’s behalf reflected her sentiment, explaining she has always donated and volunteered to help with community events, and has become a staple in the community. Many also referred to Homestyle as “a destination bakery,” that has helped business in the South Water Street area. Her sweet treats draw customers from Peekskill, Cortlandt and surrounding communities.

“The community is not happy over this building now,” she said in reference to the two-story Visitor Center, which would block the north side of her shop and has also forced her to flip her entrance to the south side. The center will feature a catering business and a café. "It is not business friendly and is not nice."

Sanca has already made structural changes to her business to flip the entrance, including removing a wall. She made these changes without a fight because “Who wants to fight the city?” Sanca asked. She did not realize she would have to bolster herself with community support in hopes of reaching a satisfactory solution with the city over parking.

“We were just surprised she didn’t pick up the phone,” Foster said in an interview, explaining her surprised reaction to the turn out at Monday’s City Council meeting. Foster said that she will thoroughly review all the renderings and plans for the Visitor Center, which show Sanca’s building, and hopes to work together to find a good solution. Sanca will attend next Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss the issue with the council.

“It was good to see people out there supporting a local business,” Mayor Foster said. “We are all vested in her survival. We have to find a good solution.”


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Eileen Burns April 15, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Take a look at the marvelous wedding cakes designed and decorated at Homestyle Desserts and realize that they are a part of the Peekskill Artists' community!
Tracey Powell-Lynch April 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM
watch the parking meters- working in peekskill, we have passes but still find it a feeding zone for parking tickets for the city. Best Wishes if this happens for your business, staff and customers. Alot of times people think they can run in for a minute without feeding the meter and believe me, they will have a ticket on thier car when they come out.
Patty Villanova April 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Another example of Peekskill City government at its worst-- replace a thriving small business that contributes hugely to our community and replace it with a taxpayer funded white elephant that will generate nothing but more jobs for bureaucrats. Who cares if Lincoln stopped here for 5 minutes?? How can they extrapolate that into the need to put Rose out of business and detroy another Peekskill landmark? The fact that the mayor thought this was taken care of shows how tone deaf she really is. The City is spending a fortune to hire "consultants" to tell them how to attract more businesses to Peekskill. Maybe they should just listen to a successful business owner who's already here. The answer is simple- provide adequate parking and stop getting in the way of private enterprise. The entire city government has not produced one cupcake, yet they feel they can dictate to Rose how to run her business. The last thing we need in this economy is to build another multi-million dollar monument to the egos of do-nothing politicians.
Noreen Kelly April 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Homestyle is a staple in Peekskill. Meter parking is not a good idea. How many customers would that accomodate? The commuters will eat those spaces up. And really how long are you in the bakery 10 minutes?
Lorraine Stone April 16, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Having parking right outside the bakery is a good idea for a quick visit and especially for handicapped people to easily access the bakery. Metered parking is an insult this business and the people of Peekskill as well as the employees. Lincoln himself would be ashamed of this plan.
Tom Scaramellino April 16, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Seems to me hurting a thriving business which has been an ardent supporter of every nonprofit and community group is typical of the short memories politicians have when it comes to touting progress. All you have to do is recall a new woodworking and school bus company moving to Charles Point Peekskill. We all know how that worked out for Charles Point Marina and Crystal Bay. Tom Scaramellino
Patty Villanova April 16, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Not only that- but has anyone read the NYS Comptroller's audit of Peekskill's parking meter operation? It was done several years ago and is available online. (I will try to post a link to this site.) It seems that like everything else in this town, there were no internal controls over the money that was collected, such that much of it was unaccounted for. Kind of like the BID. Government cannot be trusted to spend our money wisely and the politicians and bureacrats of Peekskill are no exception. Do we really need another multi-million dollar project that supposedly will lure tourists to the city? Why can't they do something to fix the Paramount for starters? Before Foster & Co. continue with their reckless spending, they need to prove that they can be successful with what they already have. Rose brought them over 2500 signatures of people who cared enough to take a stand about her bakery. That's more people that vote in some elections. The city needs to put the brakes on this project now, if for no other reason than we can't afford it. In case the aristos on the council haven't notice, people are having a hard time deciding whether to heat their homes or pay their taxes.
jo May 12, 2011 at 02:12 PM
gee.. a Dem control city being anti business. .this is news???.. Rosie.. the public is with you...
Shar August 18, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Patty, you know these people well...keep an eye on them


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