Parking problems: Manlius parking causes headache for business owners, customers

These signs have been posted all over lot 14 during the past few weeks to inform customers of the parking situation .

These signs have been posted all over lot 14 during the past few weeks to inform customers of the parking situation . Allie Wenner

— Be careful when parking in the village of Manlius these days- because there’s a very good chance you’ll get towed. That’s been the case for the last three weeks for customers parking behind businesses on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Seneca Street. In early January, Mike Magley, who owns the lot behind Café 119 and his building, which houses 4 businesses, including Feats of Clay and Lonsdale Salon, sent a letter to John Freightenburgh, the owner of Ironwood Pizza. In the letter he stated that Freightenburgh should start letting customers know that they cannot park in his lot. The next day, cars were being towed.

This lot, also known as lot 14, has been a center of controversy in Manlius for 8 years now. Magley began restricting parking in the lot back in 2005, leading business owners on the block to believe he was trying to force them into selling their properties at very low prices. The conflict was eventually resolved between the business owners and Magley, who found a happy medium when customers began parking on the street and in other locations.

And as of early January, Magley has been at it again, sometimes standing in his lot until 9:30 p.m., barking at customers about how they will be towed if they are not going into his building. Chuck Porto, the owner of Café 119, says that many times, after potential customers interact with Magley, they end up leaving Manlius.

“I stood outside with [Magley] and told people where they could park, but most of them just left” he said. “I stood out with him all night until 9:30. His businesses close at 7,” Porto said.

Magley, who declined to comment for this story, has already turned down an offer from one of the business owners on the block to buy his building. This conflict puts the village board in a tough situation. It approved an appraisal of lot 14 to determine its fair market value during its Jan. 22 meeting. At the next meeting, Mayor Mark- Paul Serfain expects the appraisal to be done and says the board will review what the value is and will then determine the next step, which will probably be to make an offer. He says he’s been working with Magley and his attorney to figure out the best course of action.

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