Parking problems: Manlius parking causes headache for business owners, customers

These signs have been posted all over lot 14 during the past few weeks to inform customers of the parking situation .

These signs have been posted all over lot 14 during the past few weeks to inform customers of the parking situation . Allie Wenner

— Be careful when parking in the village of Manlius these days- because there’s a very good chance you’ll get towed. That’s been the case for the last three weeks for customers parking behind businesses on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Seneca Street. In early January, Mike Magley, who owns the lot behind Café 119 and his building, which houses 4 businesses, including Feats of Clay and Lonsdale Salon, sent a letter to John Freightenburgh, the owner of Ironwood Pizza. In the letter he stated that Freightenburgh should start letting customers know that they cannot park in his lot. The next day, cars were being towed.

This lot, also known as lot 14, has been a center of controversy in Manlius for 8 years now. Magley began restricting parking in the lot back in 2005, leading business owners on the block to believe he was trying to force them into selling their properties at very low prices. The conflict was eventually resolved between the business owners and Magley, who found a happy medium when customers began parking on the street and in other locations.

And as of early January, Magley has been at it again, sometimes standing in his lot until 9:30 p.m., barking at customers about how they will be towed if they are not going into his building. Chuck Porto, the owner of Café 119, says that many times, after potential customers interact with Magley, they end up leaving Manlius.

“I stood outside with [Magley] and told people where they could park, but most of them just left” he said. “I stood out with him all night until 9:30. His businesses close at 7,” Porto said.

Magley, who declined to comment for this story, has already turned down an offer from one of the business owners on the block to buy his building. This conflict puts the village board in a tough situation. It approved an appraisal of lot 14 to determine its fair market value during its Jan. 22 meeting. At the next meeting, Mayor Mark- Paul Serfain expects the appraisal to be done and says the board will review what the value is and will then determine the next step, which will probably be to make an offer. He says he’s been working with Magley and his attorney to figure out the best course of action.

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CBogley 3 years ago

Clearly the Mayor is hiding behind the real issue here. The parking lot used to be paid for by the town to accomodate the citizens and visitors to the area and as a result received the revenue from the sales of the local business owners and the taxes on the incomes of the shop owners and their employees. The town made more than they paid. Mr. Magley (not Magley as this rag refers to him) is a property owner that takes all of the risks of owning property used by the public. He is not a charity, he has to pay for repairs to the lot from his own pocket. In reality Mr. Porto wants to receive the benefit of the parking lot for nothing. Pretty generous on his part, don't you think. Having his customers park in Mr. Magley's lot is a form of theft, but I see no cry for protection of Mr. Magley's rights.

The name calling and false accusations of Mr. Magley and the view of his motives by his detractors is reprehensible and shows the small minded mentality of this paper and the Mayor and his government of Manlius, a nice town that is being impugned by it's leadership. Grow up and begin having reasonable dialogues with your citizens, not name calling and epithets. The rest of the citizenry should be suspicious of a government that attacks any of it's citizens this way. Shameful.


kdhughes 3 years ago

Let's look at solutions -- perhaps if Manlius offered to plow the lot, Mr Magley could show his generosity.

Of course he has rights and responsibilities, but he has not shown a willingness to work things out for everyone's benefit, not just his. This issue is not about him.


Zorch 3 years ago

Why should he provide free parking for everyone? Doesn't make sense.


Laughcrazy 2 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like: Mr Magley owns a parking lot for the tenants of his building to provide them with parking for their customers. He takes on all burden of liability & maintenance of this property to provide value to his tenants. Other businesses are upset that he has taken his own time to protect his property use and those misusing it to personally warn them ahead of time to give them extra opportunities to save them from being towed and charged...which he does not legally have to do. He could sit there without asking people to move their cars and just tow them and make money from that.... yet he is being made out to be the bad guy??? The local Gov forcibly taking Mr Magley's property to serve the same purpose to those who own adjacent property is NOT what eminent domain was established for.. but unfortunately governments everywhere are misusing it in wrongful ways.. however if they take it... they should also be liable for not only the property's value but it's actual value to Mr Magley. It has a much higher value, loss of income, loss of the business and rental values it provides by giving his tenants the added advantage and value of parking in a limited parking arena... and the stress and emotional damage they are causing him with the manner in which they are treating and handling this situation which might include some slander which those involved could be held liable for. Also this lot is providing it's intended purpose for the building Mr. Magley owns... if the other property owners and city need more parking then it would be more fair to use eminent domain to take other properties in the area and CONVERT them to MORE parking.


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