The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday voted unanimously to cut in half the time limit to park in a municipal lot near the National Hall complex on Wilton Road -- from two hours to one hour.

The National Hall complex -- on the western side of the Saugatuck River at the intersection of Wilton Road and the Post Road -- is home to several new restaurants, and local merchants expressed concern that parking in the nearby 15-space municipal lot would be overused by restaurant patrons.

William Fitzpatrick, a Fairfield lawyer representing the owners of the National Hall complex, said the proposal represented the interests of both restaurant and retail owners.

"My clients recognize the parking needs of the retailers and have made this request as a result," Fitzpatrick said.

The one-hour restriction on parking runs until 6 p.m. each day with no time limit thereafter, so dinnertime restaurant patrons will not be affected.

During the day, lowering the time limit will theoretically increase turnover in the lot and free up space for retail patrons.

Selectman Charlie Haberstroh said the owners of the complex know the needs of their tenants better than anyone.

"If the restaurants don't feel they need the parking, why not try the one-hour parking? And if it doesn't work, we can go back to two-hour parking," Haberstroh said.