Starbucks customers who can’t find a parking space and decide to park across the street to the Empower Federal Credit Union lot had better stop — bank officials are so annoyed by it that from now on all non-bank customers’ cars will be towed.
At the Jan. 12 meeting of the village of Fayetteville board of trustees, members heard concerns from John Wakefield, CEO of Empower Federal Credit Union, about parking from Starbucks on South Burdick Street that is overflowing into his business’ private parking lot, which is located across the street from the café.
Wakefield said Empower has hired a security guard to tell people not to park in the Empower lot, and has even had a tow truck parked in the lot to discourage parking there. This approach has not worked and Wakefield said they will begin instructing the truck to tow vehicles that are using the Empower lot improperly with a fair warning.
And with the planned building expansion of Starbucks, Wakefield said he feels this problem will get even worse.
“They actually plan on expanding the building and enclosing an outdoor patio, encouraging customers to stay there longer,” Wakefield said. “You’re going to have more issues there … I think it’s an accident waiting to happen, it’s a public safety issue.”
Representatives from the Fayetteville Starbucks declined to comment on the issue. A call to the Starbucks’ global media center was not returned as of press time.
UPDATE 1/21- “At Starbucks, it’s important for us to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve. We want to address the community’s concerns and improve the parking regulations, but it’s also important to note our store does comply with all zoning laws pertaining to parking lot laws,” a representative from Starbucks media relations office said on Jan. 21. “We’re currently pursing alternatives on parking options with the landlord and we’ve placed signs in our store to in meantime to direct customers where to park. We’re looking forward to finding the right choice.”
Mike Rowe, deputy chairperson of the Fayetteville village planning board, said with the Starbuck’s expansion there will be no change in the number of parking spots for their lot.
“This is not an Empower problem … it’s a Starbucks problem. It’s a bad situation down there,” Rowe said.
Mayor Mark Olson said there is nothing the village board can do about the parking problem, other than trying to combat the parking and traffic issues as a whole. In the upcoming Western Gateway project, Olson said there will be some on street parking added that can be used by Starbucks.
If Empower started to tow Starbucks customer’s vehicles, Olson said it would bring Starbuck’s attention to the problem.
“If one person get’s towed, it spreads like wildfire,” Olson said.
Hayleigh Gowans is a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin. She can be reached at email@example.com.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.