Watch CBS News

Battle brewing over public parking lot in Collingswood, New Jersey

Public parking lot in Collingswood, New Jersey sparks controversy and debate
Public parking lot in Collingswood, New Jersey sparks controversy and debate 02:05

COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. (CBS) -- A battle is brewing over a public parking lot in South Jersey. Plans to make drivers pay have sparked controversy.

Right now, it's free to park in the lot behind a row of businesses on Collings Avenue in Collingswood.

"It's actually the only reason why we decided to buy in Collingswood," Jamie Giordano said. 

Giordano opened Salon G with her family in 2019. The draw was a parking lot she now partially owns behind her business on Collings Avenue.

But a proposal to turn the free spaces into a paid lot has her considering cutting ties with the borough.

"I would not personally want to stay in this town if that were the case. If I don't have control over where I can park my vehicle with no reserved spaces, there's no incentive for me to want to stay here," Giordano said. 

Giordano said she met with the mayor last month, who told her the borough is considering taking the lot through eminent domain because it is poorly maintained and has poor lighting.

Giordano and the borough each own a quarter of the lot. The remainder belongs to another business owner.

Giordano said if her customers and employees have to pay to park, that will not only affect her business but the surrounding businesses as well.

"We talked to all the people who work on our block and everyone is up in arms," Giordano said. 

The mayor declined an interview but told CBS News Philadelphia over the phone a resolution was approved recently to authorize negotiations to acquire the parking lot, and eminent domain is a possibility. 

The mayor said the lengthy process has not started yet. He wants to meet with the business owners again to discuss options.

Giordano has since started a petition to prevent the borough from seizing the lot. It has nearly 1,000 signatures.

"We like to support the owners, and I believe using eminent domain should be the last resort," David Shin said. 

The mayor said nothing has been decided as Giordano stands firm her portion of the lot is not for sale.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.