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Parryville attorney warns other communities that trouble is brewing at canal parking lot

Published September 08. 2010 05:00PM

For the other six communities which make up the Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission, be warned - a letter is on the way from the Parryville solicitor. The letter gives Parryville's point of view on the commercial permit issued to Riverwalck Restaurant for parking in the Canal Commission Parking lot.

The Lehigh Canal Commission is comprised of the boroughs of Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Weissport, Parryville and Mahoning, Franklin and East Penn townships.

Attorney Michael S. Greek said that he reviewed the Intergovernmental Agreement and has concerns for Parryville.

He said that since the agreement prohibits parking after closing time, Riverwalck is still using the parking lot after the park is closed on a regular basis.

He also noted that Riverwalck's use of the property is out of character for the area which is supposed to be used for the public's recreation and conservation.

Greek also pointed out that the commission's agreement prohibits advertising for other businesses on public land.

Greek agrees that the commission has the right to grant permits, but he doesn't believe that the canal commission has the right to grant "commercial permits." He believes that the commission's right to granting permits are more for "gathering and assembling" than for commercial parking permits.

Greek noted that the Borough of Parryville is concerned with the liability of people parking on the canal commission parking area and either walking or being transported across Route 248 to patronize the Riverwalck business or to work there. He also noted that the owner of Riverwalck is performing renovations to the parking area which seems to be above and beyond the scope of simply permit parking and may be harming a historical area.

Greek said that he is sending out the letter because he is not sure if all the other member communities are aware of the work that is being done and the manner by which the property is being utilized.

"I am sure they would have some of the same concerns with respect to the use of the property from a liability standpoint given that each of the municipalities are owners of that property," noted Greek.

Last month Mark Stemler, owner of Riverwalck, sent a letter out to the press saying he had permission from the Lehigh Canal Association to use the public parking area for employees of the Riverwalck Restaurant in Parryville.

"For the safety of my employees I will be using a shuttle system but feel that the crosswalk would address the problem in a more efficient manner" he noted. "Allowing safe access will benefit anyone that wishes to avail themselves of the recreational opportunities available in this area."

Stemler also met with State Rep. Keith Mccall in June asking to have a permission for crosswalk to resolve the issue.

Stemler is paying the Lehigh Canal Commission $1,800 a year to use the parking area at Parryville.

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