Dundalk Village parking problems still unsolved
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:53

Still no end in sight after 18-month battle

by Ben Boehl

    It has been almost a year and a half, and visitors to the Dundalk Village Shopping Center have nowhere to park — unless they want to risk being towed.
    Blue Ocean Realty bought the Dundalk Village Shopping Center from JMJ Properties for $4.6 million in September of 2011. The catch was that JMJ still owned the parking lots around the shopping center. A January 2012 article in The Eagle said that JMJ was not going to let those parking lots go without a fight.
    The article reported that JMJ had issued a memo to all shopping center tenants stating that any cars parked within their lots were subject to towing.
    The JMJ-controlled lots are located on Shipway and Market Place, along with the lots in front of and behind 16 Center Place.
    Jonathan Ehrenfeld of Blue Ocean Realty told The Eagle last week that he had been advised by his lawyers not to share any information on the legal battle with JMJ Properties but Ehrenfeld did acknowledge the case was still ongoing and no court proceeding has been scheduled at this time.
    “There is a restraining order that remains in place to prevent JMJ from towing any cars,” he said.
    Michael S. Kohen of JMJ Properties also did not want to tip his hand.

“The issue is in the process of litigation. I have no further comment,” Kohen wrote in an e-mail.
    While the parties involved have been quiet, the community around the shopping center is upset with this dispute.
    Amy Menzer, Executive Director of the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. (also a tenant at the shopping center) said the people being hurt most by this dispute is the local businesses in the shopping center and the customers of those businesses.
    “This dispute, at minimum, has created confusion and apprehension for shoppers, which is the last thing any business needs to be successful in attracting customers, particularly our small businesses,” Menzer said in an e-mail.
    “Prospective businesses need to know what their baseline conditions are, so with those being in flux, it also makes it hard to attract new businesses.”
     She hopes for the sake of the community that the dispute can be resolved. She said she puts the blame on JMJ.
    “JMJ’s trying to block Dundalk residents from parking in their own town center is offensive and insulting. JMJ may still own some of the lots, but the taxpayers of this community also helped them with grants and loans when they owned the entire complex,” Menzer said. 
    “All the property owners in the Main Street [area] need to try to work together for the success of the whole enterprise.”
    Even though there are “No Parking” signs posted, there have not been any reports of JMJ towing a vehicle from the lot.
    Angel Ball, who is the manager at Dunmanway Apartments and the organizer of Dundalk Concerts in the Park, worries if JMJ wins their case and decides to enforce their “no parking” policy and how that could hurt the business community.
    Ball said that both Blue Ocean and JMJ are to blame, as Blue Ocean bought the property and not the parking lots and JMJ will not let go of the lots.
    “It definitely needs to be resolved for all the events that we are doing with the Easter Egg Hunt, Dunfest and the Concerts in the Park,” Ball said.
    “Every time we have an event, we use those particular parking lots.”
    The dispute remains in the courts, with no end in sight.