Oak Bluffs parking crackdown on Tony’s Market irks owner

Oak Bluffs selectmen ordered enforcement of "no parking" regulations on Dukes County Avenue, near Tony's Market. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Dave Richardson, owner of Tony’s Market on Dukes County Avenue, will ask Oak Bluffs selectmen to reconsider their recent decision to enforce “no parking” regulations on the roadway in front of his busy market.

Mr. Richardson, who was the town meeting moderator for 12 years, told The Times he plans to be on the agenda when the selectmen meet Tuesday, July 12 to protest the new parking rules and he has urged his supporters to also turn out.

The town’s roads and byways committee made the recommendation to change the rules following complaints and concerns about congestion on the narrow avenue. Selectmen unanimously approved the recommendation at their regular meeting on June 28. Street parking is now restricted to three spots directly in front of the market, which are partly off the roadway.

The market has a small parking lot adjacent to the building for customers, many of whom prefer to use the roadway.

“Neither the town officials who asked for the change, nor the selectmen who made it, gave us or anyone else any notice whatsoever of their intentions or any chance to be present or be heard,” Mr. Richardson wrote in a letter to his neighbors and customers. “The order was simply voted and scheduled for implementation and ticketing!”

The posted agenda for the meeting noted a report from the roads and byways committee, but did not specifically refer to the situation at Tony’s Market.

Mr. Richardson said the selectmen’s decision is likely to hurt his business, his employees, and his suppliers.

Police and fire department officials have expressed concern about the congestion for several years. They contend that vehicles parked in the travel lane often force traffic to swerve into the oncoming lane.

A proposal to make the street one-way, and another proposal to change zoning regulations so delivery trucks could use a back entrance off Vineyard Avenue, faltered because of vociferous neighborhood opposition.