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City Hall proposes solution to marina parking fee dispute

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After expressing their opposition to charging a fee for parking during special events at Erie Basin Marina, some Buffalo Common Council members say they have a better way to make sure people are using the lot fairly.Common Council members have told the company operating the Erie Basin Marina to cease charging $5 fees to park during special events at the waterfront.

Instead, they are pushing for a stamped-ticket system. Motorists would be handed the ticket at no charge, but under a system where they would only be allowed to park for a limited time of two hours.

Violators would face city parking fines of around $30-35, which could be imposed by either city patrols or marina operators.

Council President Richard Fontana says the ticket system is a fair way to allow free parking for the public while ensuring motorists are using the spaces for the right reasons.

"This is really designed so that people don't leave vehicles at the marina all day long. This will let more people enjoy the marina. It's very fair, in my opinion," Fontana told WBFO.

Boaters have their own parking spaces and were not charged during recent special events.

The marina operators, Smith Boys, under their contract with the city, have the ability to charge a fee for special events and, according to a recent published report, had done so during recent events to cover the cost of extra security.

Fontana, however, insists the operators did not get permission from all City Hall sources, including the Common Council, before doing so.