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Battle Brewing Over Parking Prices In Long Island Beach Community

BAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A parking battle is brewing in a community on Long Island. At issue are the price of parking, and businesses trying to survive.

In the small North Shore village of Bayville, beachgoers are soaking up the sun -- but the new owners of nearby Souvlaki Palace say they aren't soaking up enough business.

"We're down 15, 20 percent of our sale," owner Gus Savvas told CBS2's Jessica Borg. "We won't be able to sustain for the winter."

The shops along Bayville Avenue blame the loss of customers on this summer's new parking fees across the street.

For non-residents of the Town of Oyster Bay, it's $50 to park there for the day.

On weekends, it bumps up to $60.

"That's kind of absurd," local mother Mary Ann Knott said. She parked a few blocks away to enjoy the nearby playground. CBS2 saw several drivers heading right out of the lot once they saw the prices.

"This is mind boggling," one man said.

Restaurant owners say last summer on a beautiful beach day, the parking lot would be packed. When it's empty, they say they're missing critical business at lunch hour.

Some residents defend the fee.

"If you want to enjoy your beach, you have to pay for it," another man said.

Oyster Bay town supervisor Joseph Saladino says the fee is the same at all the beach parking lots.

"The town has been experiencing an influx of non-residents parking at town beaches and then trying to skirt the fees," Saladino said.

Officials also blame bridge construction on Shore Road -- leading into Bayville -- as a factor in fewer customers.

But, they say the town promises to fix the parking problem. It's now proposing free 90 minute parking for residents and non-residents at the Ransom Beach lot.

"We understand that there's additional need for parking," town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson said.

Building owner George Kostakis says help now is too little, too late.

"The damage is done," he said.

Merchants say free parking at this point in the summer might not affect their bottom line.

CBS reports the Oyster Bay town board says it plans to propose the free parking resolution on August 15th.

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