By KATiE HOOS
The owners of the 3 Jala-penos property—a once lively Mexican restaurant in the Village of Mamaroneck that closed in 2011 after Tropical Storm Irene—are allowing firefighters from the Volunteers Engine & Hose firehouse on Mamaroneck Avenue to use the restaurant’s vacant parking lot until the property is sold.
In a March 10 meeting, the Board of Trustees resolved to authorize an agreement between the village and the owners of The 3 Jalapenos stipulating the village provide snow and ice removal, mowing and proof of insurance in order for members of the volunteer fire department to park in the property’s unused lot for free.
“It’s a great way to help out the fire department and it’s not costing the village anything,” Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said. “Parking spaces are far and few in between over there.”
The firehouse, located at 643 Mamaroneck Ave., is one of the village’s five all-volunteer fire companies. It has just two parking spaces on the side of the building and two designated parking spaces on the street in front of the firehouse for firefighters to use.
But these spaces are not always available, leaving firefighters to search for parking along Mamaroneck Avenue.
“The few spaces that they have are sometimes taken by people that don’t see the signs or don’t care about the signs and are going to the neighboring businesses,” Democratic Trustee Andres Bermudez Hal-lstrom said. He said there are not enough designated spaces when the firehouse hosts company-wide meetings.
Village resident Nancy Was-serman, a commercial real estate agent listing the 3 Jalapenos property, approached the pro-perty owners about letting the fire department use the vacant lot, which is zoned for 36 parking spaces. The owners agreed, under the provision the village routinely maintain the lot and require permits to be placed in the vehicles using the lot, according to Wasserman.
“We want to make sure the firefighters are the only ones using the lot,” she said. Wasserman said the agreement is on a month-to-month basis and requires a 30-day cancellation should either the village or the property owners want to end the agreement.
The 3 Jalapenos property has been a rotating door of different restaurants since the 1970s, including the Canada Lounge, Rich’s Pasta House and three Mexican restaurants including the most recent occupant. Wasserman said The 3 Jalapenos—located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave.—was doing well, offering an outdoor dining area and hosting live Mariachi music, but serious flooding damage from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 forced the restaurant to close.
“The people who leased [The 3 Jalapenos] did not fix the restaurant after the flood, so it closed,” Wasserman said, “and we’ve been trying to sell it ever since.”
When asked if the property has any prospective buyers, Wasserman said there is currently one party interested and that whoever ends up buying the property will most likely demolish the building since the flood damage was so severe.
“When I presented [the agreement between the village and the current property owners] to the prospective buyers and told them about the firefighters using the lot, they were fine with it up until it’s time to get the permit to demolish the building,” she said.
Rosenblum said once the agreement ends and the firefighters need to vacate the space, the village will try to acquire additional parking elsewhere.
“There is no area around there available,” he said. “We’re trying to negotiate a deal with a property next to the firehouse, but nothing’s come of it yet.”
A February 2013 transit-oriented development study analyzing the area around the Mamaroneck Metro-North train station indicated there were six vacant or undeveloped locations in the vicinity that were expected to be redeveloped in the short-term, one of them being the 3 Jalapenos property.
Wasserman said the firemen using the property’s parking lot is beneficial to the village because the agreed upkeep by the village will keep the property attractive to potential buyers.
“Everyone is very cooperative,” she said. “The Board of Trustees was cooperative because they want to see the blight removed.”