Hadley bans parking on part of Town Common

  • Esselon Cafe in Hadley now has overflow parking available on an adjacent parcel that’s being redeveloped. File Photo

Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2021

HADLEY — Hadley is prohibiting parking along a 500-foot section of West Street near Esselon Cafe, the latest effort to mandate that restaurant customers park their vehicles at the 99 Russell St. restaurant.

The Select Board’s unanimous decision on Sept. 1 to put up no-parking signs, and allow police to ticket or call for tows of vehicles parked on a section of West Street on the historic Town Common, comes in advance of Tuesday’s hearing for reuse of the Hadley Auto Service site next door at 97 Russell St.

The Hadley Auto Service property is being redeveloped by Esselon owner Mark Krause for tenants that will include Action EMS, and also features a large overflow parking lot for the cafe.

Select Board member Joyce Chunglo said the action to put up no-parking signs on West Street should have been taken long ago to help the business and to keep the Common in good shape.

“I’m willing to go that route,” Chunglo said.

“Shame on the Board of Selectmen for not posting more on this common,” Chunglo said.

The decision came following an appeal from the Planning Board, whose clerk, William Dwyer, said when Esselon’s site plans were originally approved that there was adequate parking. In the more than a decade since, though, Esselon has doubled its dining area, with expansion outdoors, and a growing number of customers park along the common, damaging the town property.

“It has been a thorn in many people’s sides, and we’re just trying to figure out how we can make this work,” Dwyer said.

Select Board member John Waskiewicz said he has concerns about too many signs being put on the Town Common, while Chairman David J. Fill II said this should be seen as a temporary solution until customers are trained to use the parking lot.

Police Chief Michael Mason said officers are ready to patrol the area as they do at the Bay Road reservoirs, which are open only to Hadley residents for parking and use.

“We can certainly ramp up enforcement at the beginning and educate folks,” Mason said,

Krause said he is actively working to get his customers to use the overflow parking, with a number of signs and active warnings to those who park on the Common.

The Select Board’s decision only applies to the section of West Street south of Route 9 and won’t prohibit people from parking adjacent to other portions of the Common, which, due to its length, has been popular for people to picnic and for other activities, including programs put on by the Hadley Senior Center.