YONKERS, N.Y. – The city of Yonkers and Ridge Hill developers have long had a difference of opinion as to whether the shopping center was legally allowed to have parking meters.
Michael Curti, legal counsel for the city, said Tuesday the city did not believe Forest City Ratner was entitled to have parking meters on the private streets of its complex and asked the developer to remove them months ago.
The developer had a different opinion, however, and continued to enforce the quartered meters before a recent agreement was reached, Curti said.
“Rather than engaging in long track litigation, Forest City Ratner agreed to remove the parking meters,” he said during a meeting of the City Council’s Real Estate Committee.
On Jan. 4, Mayor Mike Spano and Forest City Ratner announced the developer was removing more than 100 parking meters along the complex’s streets as part of a plan to improve traffic flow and make the center more shopper-friendly.
The potential legal issues surrounding the meters were not mentioned, despite having been raised more than a year ago.
In December 2011, the City Council sent a letter to Forest City Ratner asking for the removal of the meters, Curti said. Later, the city sent a cease-and-desist order to the developer, he said.
“The city believed they were not entitled to have parking meters, but Forest City Ratner had a difference of opinion,” he said.
The developer continued to collect on the quartered meters and issue parking tickets to violators despite not having authorization from the city.
When pressed by City Council members Tuesday as to why the meters were installed in the first place, Geraldine Tortorella, lawyer for Forest City Ratner, told the council the parking meters were part of the shopping center plan approved by the city.
She added they were discussed at length in various committee meetings prior to their installation.
“There was nothing secretive about them. They were out in the open,” she said.