BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin writes a column that is re-published by the Daily Voice.
At the Village Board of Trustees meeting in July, the trustees and I adopted zoning and parking changes with the goal of increasing local shopping, services and dining traffic.
On the zoning front, we have updated a process to streamline the course of opening a business in the village. In addition, we expanded the types of businesses that can offer outdoor seating.
The outdoor option will be renewable yearly to ensure that the village has control over the cleanliness, ambience and seat regulations on the site.
Revamping the zoning code—which was largely written between the ‘50s and the ‘60s—is an ongoing process, as we are attempting to reflect the needs of the current economic environment. To retain a viable business district in the 21st century, a new balance has to be struck between the sale of soft goods and the delivery of services.
On the parking front, at the request of customers, we will be adding a non-coin phone app option for meter payment called Pango beginning in August.
This app will allow time to be added to a meter remotely up until the hour limit of the specific meter.
For example, if parked at a three-hour meter where a driver has paid for two hours, they can add the extra hour via a mobile device. However, they cannot add hours beyond the meter’s time limit. Without this regulation, commuters would be able to park in front of Value Drugs all day by adding time from their Manhattan office, which would defeat the goal of stimulating local shopping.
To assist businesses whose customers require longer stays, including restaurants, hair salons, the movie theater and exercise studios, three and four-hour meters have been added in both the Garden Avenue and Cedar Street lots.
In addition, all lot meters designated for commuters and merchants are open to the general public after 3 p.m.
Like our neighbors in Tuckahoe, Yonkers, White Plains and Ridge Hill, we have extended our on-street meter hours—in the village’s case, until 9 p.m. To avoid having to leave a movie or dinner early, coins or Pango can be used just once to reach the 9 p.m. time limit.
It is important to note that only on-street meter parking is affected. All of our lots remain a free option. For example, if someone parks right in front of the movie theater, payment will be required versus the free option across the street in the Kraft lot.
The benefit is twofold. Obviously, there is a monetary one. Village residents live in the most highly-taxed community in the most highly-taxed county in the country. The additional meter revenue is anticipated to lower village taxes by at least 1 percent next year.
After diligent surveillance, we also determined that many of the formerly “free spaces” in the evenings were being more used by folks heading into Manhattan events versus those frequenting local businesses.
In the end, shopping local is the goal of all our modifications stated above. Small businesses are the backbone of the sustainability and value of Bronxville, just as they are for our economy nationwide. They are the peak job creators, currently generating more than half of all the new jobs in the country.
When small businesses flourish, there is a multiplier effect on the economy of other new hires, including accountants, lawyers, architects and cleaning staff. As a result, many of the forward-thinking communities throughout the nation have realized that keeping purchases local creates local jobs, keeps money local, saves on fuel and ancillary transportation costs, encourages a walking environment, fosters a human connection between merchants and customers, and increases overall property values.
These communities have so named their initiatives “Support our Supporters,” recognizing that it is the local merchants, not the Amazons, the Zappos and the Costcos, that provide the gifts to every local organization.
Without local purchasing, Bronxville would have lost approximately $900,000 in sales tax revenue last year, translating into a whopping 12-percent tax increase for residents. So as you soon prepare for back-to-school shopping, please think local and support Bronxville merchants. It is the best long-term bargain of all.
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