SPARTA, NJ – The issues surrounding the Lake Mohawk Country Club parking lot are not new. The planning board vote that denied the request for paid parking happened in March of 2017. The LMCC took Sparta Planning Board to court over the issue and lost, in a ruling in February 2019. They then filed an appeal.
The LMCC put out a statement early last week announcing they would close the lot to non-members on October 23.
The White Deer Plaza merchants association addressed the issue with TAPinto Sparta late last week.
The township has a policy of not discussing matters that are in litigation. After statements made publicly by the LMCC and White Deer Plaza merchants’ association Mayor Molly Whilesmith released a statement on behalf of the Sparta Township Council:
“The LMCC parking lot is privately owned and operated and as such, the Board of Trustees are wholly within their right to close their parking lot to non members. We agree that it is unfortunate that LMCC has decided to close the lot at this time.
The matter is complex and all parties are trying to act in the best interest of their members, patrons and residents. My colleagues and I have met with LMCC representatives several times this year with the intent to discuss possible solutions to this situation. The litigation filed by LMCC has created some constraints as to achieving a full resolution of the issues.
As the litigation has been prolonged, the township has been working on other options to alleviate the parking situation in White Deer Plaza. My colleagues and I are pleased to announce that the Township has reached an agreement in principal with the owner of the old “Carl’s Auto Body Shop” in White Deer Plaza to lease the property for a period of up to five years. This property would be used to provide additional public parking for the patrons of White Deer Plaza.
Also, the property will provide a location for our Police Department impound lot. This action will provide a level of immediate relief to the businesses, their patrons and the residents of Sparta.
We will continue to work with LMCC and our businesses on this situation. This Council continues to explore other options for addressing parking issues in the White Deer Plaza and throughout Sparta’s Commercial Zone.”
The agreement between the township and the owners of the property at 5 West Shore Trail is expected to be on the agenda of the next Sparta Township Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 8 beginning at 7:30 p.m.