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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lot owner won’t charge school for parking - But McGuire could limit public access

As published in the Record Journal, Thursday September 8, 2011

By Robert Cyr
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2224

WALLINGFORD — The owner of a property tied to a group parking lot uptown who has vowed to pull out of a lease agreement with the town if a referendum goes through to reverse the lease said he will not charge a church school to use his parking space if the lot is no longer public.
John McGuire owns 2 N. Main St, home to TD Bank and part of a large four-building parking lot that is part of a 30-year public parking agreement approved by the Town Council last month. Two town councilors and members of the public opposed the decision, calling the agreement’s stipulation that the town maintain the space a foolish use of public funds on private land.
McGuire was part of a previous yearto- year lease agreement with the town that began in 1961 and gave the town the same privileges. However, when he felt the town was not keeping up with paving and other maintenance of his space, he gave his one-year notice to quit the arrangement.
Shortly after, he verbally withdrew his notice, but not officially. He worked on a more detailed agreement with the town and other property owners instead, hammering out the deal that was approved by the council last month. The deal says the town “may” spend up to $500,000 to pave the lot, install lights, and reconstruct a cement wall

In McGuire’s 2009 letter to the town’s law department, he said that his decision to leave the agreement “will obviously impact Holy Trinity School, who uses our parking lot on a regular basis. We will have to work out a payment plan for them going forward.”

That never came to pass, however, andMcGuire said his lot remained for public use, and that he had no plans to charge the school to park in his space if the council’s decision is overturned by the referendum.

“I’m waiting for the referendum to go through, and go all the way through, but I will not charge the school,” he said. “But if it’s not going to be a municipal parking lot, then you can’t just allow everybody to park in your parking lot.”

Holy Trinity School Principal Katie Kelly said the school has never had a formal parking arrangement with McGuire or with any of the previous owners of the parking space. The school, with students up to eighth grade, only has about 10 parking spaces on its property, and uses half a dozen spaces in McGuire’s lot and a few on the street.

“If we had to pay to park on his property, we would be making other arrangements,” she said. “We’ve been here 100 years, and his decisions are not going to impact the future of Holy Trinity School. We are going to adjust, if need be.”

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