Bags have returned to some parking meters on York Street in downtown Gettysburg.
Negotiations last week between attorneys representing the borough and business owner Linda Atiyeh led to the restoration of bags on meter heads, marking spaces as reserved and unavailable for regular public parking, borough Manager Charles Gable said Monday.
The borough received uncashed refund checks from Atiyeh late Friday, Gable said. This weekend, bags were in place for three spaces each in front of Atiyeh’s Gallery 30 shop and The Upper Crust pizzeria, both in the first block off the square.
The bags will remain in place until the end of the period for which Atiyeh paid in advance, Gable said.
In a May 10 letter to Atiyeh, borough Interim Parking Director Becka Fissel wrote that reservations of three spaces each in front of Gallery 30 and The Upper Crust will end June 30 and July 31 this year, respectively. After those dates, Fissel wrote, “the Parking Department will remove the meter bags.”
Businesses were able to reserve spaces for loading and unloading for $100 per month per meter until last month, when the borough council changed the parking ordinance. The change removed the ability of retail, dining, and other businesses to reserve spaces for loading and unloading, but preserved the ability of some other businesses to do so, including hotels, beds-and-breakfasts, and bus-reliant entities such as theaters and tourist attractions.
Also last month the council instituted a six-month pilot program establishing 20-minute loading and unloading spaces, with one space each in Lincoln Square and the first blocks of the four streets radiating outward from the square.
After the borough sent the refund checks to Aityeh on April 17, the Pittsburgh law firm representing her responded with a letter dated May 1.
“It is our position that when the borough accepted her payment for the reserved parking spaces in front of Gallery 30 and in front of The Upper Crust, the borough entered into a contract with her and/or otherwise led her to reasonably rely on her right to those spaces through July 31, 2019,” wrote Jana Volante Walshak, an associate with the Fox Rothschild firm.
The letter also indicates construction is continuing at Atiyeh’s Jamilie restaurant on the square at Chambersburg Street, and Atiyeh will continue to use spaces there. Under the new ordinance, construction remains a reason for which businesses can reserve spaces.
Atiyeh “reserves her right to challenge the ordinance enacted April 8, 2019 and to apply for additional reserved parking in the future,” the letter reads.
In the May 10 letter to Atiyeh, Fissel wrote, “I would like to confirm that based on your prepayment made last year for the reservation of six metered public parking spaces on York Street, you may continue to use those reserved spaces through the end of the reservation terms.”
“Any parking tickets that were issued following the borough’s removal of the meter bags earlier this month will be voided and dismissed,” Fissel wrote.
“Subsequent requests for the reservations and temporary use for public parking spaces must be for the purposes specifically set forth in the amended ordinance enacted by the Borough Council on April 8,” Fissel wrote.
Writs of summons were filed on Atiyeh’s behalf Feb. 27 in Adams County Prothonotary Beverly Boyd’s office. Such writs inform recipients, in this case the borough and borough officials, that legal action has been initiated against them, but without going into detail.
A Feb. 22 letter from Fox Rothschild informed the borough “litigation is being prepared” and “we are prepared to file a civil rights action against you as well.”
Differentiating between types of businesses “is discrimination,” Atiyeh charged in a series of full-page ads in this newspaper in January.
One other business, the Lark shop on the square, did cash a refund check, Gable said.