NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Approximately the size of movie posters, and much less inviting, newly erected signs warn visiting motorists that parking in the Village Shopping Center is solely restricted to customers.

Dotting the large parking lot, strategically placed signs, hard to miss, warn that violators will be towed at the owner’s expense.

“No vehicles have been towed,” Mayor J. Brooke Hern said after conversations with the shopping center’s new owner Urstadt Biddle Properties.

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Hern said he was told that the new signs were erected at the urging of some shopping center tenants who felt they were directly subsidizing their competitors along Springfield Ave. who have no dedicated parking.

Those businesses include a restaurant, a bagel shop, a delicatessen and a hair salon.

“They (the shopping center tenants) have a point,” the mayor said.  He added that similar signs, although much smaller, have existed in the Bank of America parking lot for years and there has never been a car towing incident.

Borough Administrator Doug Marvin who has been in contact with the new shopping center owners said he believes the new restrictions are aimed at bus commuters to New York City who leave their vehicles in the parking lot all day long.  Other possible violators include employees of non-shopping center businesses.

Mayor Hern also said that the borough owns a small piece of property directly behind the Springfield Ave. businesses that could be converted to parking for eight vehicles. That possibility would require action and concurrence by the Borough Council.

Hern also offered high praise for the new shopping center owners who have expressed enthusiasm and a willingness to join with the downtown business community to explore avenues of mutual interest.

Calls to the shopping center owners seeking comment were not returned.

This isn’t the first time that sparks have flown between the shopping center and Springfield Avenue businesses.

In November 2007, then shopping center owner Larry Paragano erected parking lot signs informing motorists of a fine up to $500 in an attempt to restrict parking.  A few weeks later, he relented and removed the signs.

Attempting to address the problem early in 2008, the Downtown Improvement District embarked on a concept study for shared parking for the shopping center and surrounding business.  That study was completed in April but never gained traction from affected parties.