Although Bayville Mayor Paul Rupp made a point of wishing everyone who attended the Nov. 28 village meeting a happy holiday, at least some people were not feeling the holiday spirit.
Their issue concerns the relocation of the village menorah. Lori Cohen and a few other residents spoke out against moving it to the Bayville Bridge, where the nativity will also be. “The menorah has to be on a flat surface,” Cohen said. “It should be next to the Christmas tree in the Village Commons. I have to change the bulbs each night.”
Rupp said there was a reason for the change of location. “The tree that we light each year during the Christmas tree lighting is there all year round and is not a religious symbol,” he said. ‘I’d like to get the menorah off village property, like we’re doing with the nativity. It was our Beautification Committee that originally suggested we move the nativity.”
Cohen said she was concerned that the relocation might result in fewer people attending an annual event that takes place on the first day of Hanukkah. A wine-and-cheese get-together at the menorah celebrates the beginning of the Jewish holiday. This year it will be on Dec. 12.
“In every village that has a tree, the menorah is in close proximity to it,” Cohen said. “The last two years we had a very nice turnout for our menorah lighting.”
Former Mayor Doug Watson agreed that the menorah should be placed by the bridge. “Putting it back down by the bridge, you get a two-way view of it,” he said.
But Trustees Tim Charon and John Taylor said they believed it should stay where it has always been — in the Village Commons.
But what residents may not know, Rupp said, is that both the nativity and menorah have been “disrespected” in the past. If they are on the bridge, that will not be as easy to do. “At the tree lighting, there were kids playing with the baby Jesus in the nativity and their parents were standing right there,” Rupp said. “I got calls last year many times after 8 p.m. that the lights on the menorah were not lit. I had to go there to fix them, and all I had to do was turn the socket and they went back on.”
No parking on Bayville Ave.
Judith Sniffen asked the board what progress it has made concerning the parking problems on Bayville Avenue. There are no signs in front of the stores along the street indicating how long parking is allowed.
It’s not only an inconvenience, but also dangerous, Sniffen said. “My husband likes to get his hair cut at Jacob’s Barber Shop that’s on Bayville Avenue, but he is disabled and has to use a walker,” she said. “There’s never any parking, so I have to double-park after I leave him off.
“Even if I found a spot across the street, it would be dangerous for him to cross with his walker,” she said. “He couldn’t get across before the light changed.”
As she waits, double-parked, on the nearest corner Sniffen said, she has seen employees of Tri County get into their cars, which are parked in front of the barbershop.
Rupp agreed that there is a parking problem on Bayville Avenue. “The employees are parking in the spots and leave their cars there all day, and for people going to the bank or barbershop, there is no parking,” he said. “We issue violations in the Village Commons if people park there more than 90 minutes, but there are signs there. We’re working on Bayville Avenue now.”
Sniffen suggested that signs be installed that allow 45 minutes of parking. “That would give people time to go into the store and shop, or go to the cleaners,” she said. “The signs should be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. When cars park there for more than 45 minutes, it kills the retail business.”
Trustee Bob De Natale agreed that signs may be the solution, but he said that the village attorney, Keith Corbett, has recommended that a traffic study be done first. “I feel very strongly that the village should have zoning restrictions,” De Natale said, “and we’re on it. No one should be inconvenienced in the village for the few.”
Corbett said the reason for the traffic study is to understand the traffic flow and have data available for the board to “look at so they can make an informed decision.”
Deputy Mayor Joe Russo said the board would like to resolve the issue. He added that a vote on whether to move forward with a traffic study is not required if the cost is under $3,000.
“I’d like to see this done in the next couple of weeks,” De Natale said.