FREEPORT. N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Visitors to the Nautical Mile in Freeport say parking is already horrendous, and now a land deal could eliminate a coveted parking field.

“It’s insane to get rid of a piece of parking that large,” business owner Michael Kaland said.

Freeport business and restaurant owners along the popular Nautical Miles on historic Woodcleft Canal may soon be waving goodbye to 79 prime parking spots, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

“It would be catastrophic. Not just for my business, but for the entire street,” Kaland said.

Many complain the overflow of those searching for parking is already measured by the hundreds. From patrons of party boats and pubs, to fish markets and maritime industries – everyone has a car.

Now, a developer wants to build 43 condos or apartments on the site, eliminating those 79 spaces. The parking lot was recently zoned residential.

“There wasn’t any public input that I knew about, and I am an old timer here,” Al Grover said.

Grover is among those leading the fight to stop the building before it starts. Shirts are being made, fliers handed out, and protests held at Village Hall.

“When you see people just circling and circling and getting angry over the lack of spots, I think that’s really going to really upset local citizens,” resident Anthony Santella said.

The mayor said he would work to help with parking, but that building at the site would stabilize village taxes, which haven’t been raised in four years.

“The tax base, the recurring tax revenue, would be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Mayor Robert Kennedy said.

“I don’t have any objection to an apartment going there,” homeowner Jack Extract said. “Brings in incoming too, that always helps.”

According to the zoning board, the restaurant association or any of the interested business owners are welcome to buy the lot and retain all of the parking. The mayor said the decision on condos is not a fait accompli, McLogan reported.

Kennedy also said there’s a plan to remove an electrical substation several blocks to the north, which could create 53 new spaces.

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