After the village and the school district split the cost of a title survey last spring, most of Heermance, which had long been thought a public road, was determined to be board of education-owned property. Following that determination, the school board posted restrictions reserving the road's 23 parking spots for school employees.
Prior to the determination that it owned the property, the board of education had requested that the council pass the parking restriction, citing a growing staff that had left the main parking lot with inadequate space, especially for those visiting the school. Superintendent Dan Fishbein said that the restriction has freed up seven visitor spots in the lot.
At a meeting last week, the village council discussed the possibility of applying a Title 39 ordinance to the property, a provision that extends police enforcement to private land.
Councilman Tom Riche was more than skeptical of the move, raising the concern that enforcing parking restrictions on private land set a “terrible precedent” and could ultimately strain the manpower of the police department.
“I’m dead set against this,” he said. “If the board of ed wants to enforce the parking [restriction], they can sign the tickets, they can go to court.”
Ridgewood currently has four properties under Title 39 provisions, the last of which was added in 2007. The ordinances give police the power to enforce regulations in the Stop and Shop parking lot on Franklin Avenue, the Ridgewood Senior Citizens Housing Corporation on Ridge Road, the Ridgewood Cycle Shop, and the Pondview Medical Center, across from the Ridgewood Duck Pond.
Among the regulations covered by the ordinances are speed limits and parking restrictions on the private lots and roadways.
Though without an ordinance village police do not enforce the parking restriction, Fishbein said that drivers have been abiding by the posted regulation.
Aside from parking enforcement, Mayor Paul Aronsohn noted last week that maintenance issues on the property “still need to be resolved.”
Officials said last week that until arrangements are passed by the council, the board of education will shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the roadway, and that village employees have been advised that the street should now be considered private property.