Village adds 'no parking' signs as dispute between businesses continues

'No public parking' signs went 
up Friday at Eldridge and 
Eldridge Dental Group in the 
1900 block of Ridge Road
after several vehicles were
towed recently.
(Photo by
Eric Crump/The Chronicle)

"No Public Parking" signs were placed by the Village of Homewood at the entrance to Eldridge and Eldridge Dental Group Friday after another case of vehicles being towed from a lot owned by the business.

Vehicles parked in the dental office's lot by several volunteers working at the St. Joseph Catholic Church fish fry Friday, March 13, reportedly were towed. The incident followed a similar case in mid-February when vehicles parked in the lot by several customers of Grape & Grain were towed.

The towings are associated with a dispute over use of the parking lot between the owners of the dental office, Ronald and Debra Eldridge, and the owner of Grape and Grain, Ron Khalaf. 

The point of contention between the businesses is centered on access by delivery trucks to Grape & Grain, a craft wine and beer establishment. The Eldridges have not agreed to allow trucks to use the lot, which extends east from the rear of Grape & Grain. Khalaf maintains that access is necessary to operate his business because delivery trucks otherwise have to park on busy Dixie Highway to unload.

Village officials attempted to mediate the dispute by bringing the three parties together early in March to see if an agreement could be reached. 

According to Khalaf, the meeting seemed to be a success. He said he agreed to share costs of maintaining the lot and keeping it clean, and in return he asked that anyone in the community be allowed to park there when the dental office is closed.

He said the Eldridges later suggested a per-spot fee instead.

Ronald Eldridge said this week that negotiations continue but declined to offer further details.

Village Trustee Lisa Purcell, who attended the meeting, said she thought an agreement had been reached and was surprised at the Eldridges' response. She said she is uncertain what the next step should be, but she hopes to continue discussions until some resolution can be found.

Purcell and Mayor Richard Hofeld, who called the meeting, note that the village has no official role or recourse in the matter because it is a civil matter regarding the use of private property. 

The tentative agreement reached at the meeting would have included additional signage to help prevent towings. 

Two signs warning against unauthorized parking are posted in the lot, one at the northwest corner and one at the east end, but neither sign indicates which business owns the lot. 

When the agreement did not materialize, the village posted the "No Public Parking" signs.

Related story:
Misunderstandings over parking lot lead to towed vehicles (The Chronicle, Feb. 25, 2015)

Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]


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