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New Parking Proposal Presented To Council

Village Council has scheduled two meetings to discuss everyone’s favorite topic—parking. They will be on Thursday, April 20 and Wednesday, May 3 both at 7:00 pm at Village Hall.

In the last few weeks, there have been several revisions to the proposed parking plan and I’ll attempt to summarize the current proposal here. Another good source is the article by Barbara Christian in last week’s CVT (Section A, Page 5).

1) Parking Meters.

The proposed plan calls for installing 2-hour meters on all streets where we don’t currently have meters as well as putting 2-hour meters at 38 spots in the W. Washington lot (aka the Muni lot, which is mostly owned by the Village). The revised plan also calls for installing 8-hour meters in the East Orange lot (next to Riverside Park). Council will have to decide whether to install meters in these locations or leave it the way it is.

The current proposal calls for relatively basic meters that would (a) take coins and (b) allow payment via a smart phone App. Using these basic meters would keep the cost for the meter itself relatively low ($400 per meter) and allow the Village to maintain the $0.50 per hour charge.

Council will also discuss potentially putting in kiosks that take credit cards, etc., but we are told that the break-even point for those types of meters requires charging $1.25 per hour, which is much more than the current level of $0.50.

All meters would have a first 20 minutes free button.

2) Employee Permit Parking.

The revised plan calls for selling permits for employees to park all-day for $15/month and there are 4 proposed locations for employee permit parking. One, about 2/3 of the Muni lot would be designated as employee parking. Two, the 25 spots in the Plaza lot. Three, the 25 spots along E. Orange on the north side of the street (i.e., from Step North east toward Lutheran Church). And four, the 8 spots on Center Street just west of the S. Franklin intersection.

As an FYI, in February and March, the Village Administration went around to all the businesses around the Triangle (including second floor businesses) and all the way up Main to Orange and collected data on number of employees requiring parking and during what hours. The data show that there are around 200 all-day parkers between 8-5 Monday through Friday.

Council will have to decide whether to implement a system of employee parking permits; if so, how much the permits should cost; and whether these locations are appropriate and sufficient.

3) Free Employee Parking.

The Village has entered into or would enter into agreements with Lutheran Church, Federated Church, and potentially other landowners with excess spots that are a bit remote to downtown. Parking for employees in these lots or spaces would be free.

4) Note about a Parking Garage.

At these meetings, Council will discuss the feasibility of building a parking garage, but the initial conclusion is that it is not practical in the short term for multiple reasons. The two primary reasons are that the Village doesn’t own the land required for such a structure so we would have to buy property which is not cheap around here. And second, there is the cost of the structure itself, which is anywhere from $20,000-$30,000 per spot.

In order to cover the costs, the Village would have to charge for parking nearly everywhere and at a rate much higher than $0.50/hour. The other options would be to raise property taxes to cover the cost (and there’s a zero percent chance that I would be in favor of that). Or we could assess the property owners who use the parking (i.e., businesses in town), but I cannot see anyone thinking that is a good idea. As noted, Council will discuss these items, but if I was going to bet on it, I don’t see Council proposing that a parking garage be built in the short term.

5) Conclusion.

There are probably other issues, but in my view these are the major components of the proposed plan. My goal here was to give you the information as well as lay out the issues that Council will have to address so that if you come to one of these meetings, you can share your comments in a targeted way.

In closing, please consider attending these meetings. I promise you it will not be boring. And I also promise you that Council will be very receptive to whatever input you have. I know I speak for all my fellow Council members when I say that hearing from residents, business owners, employees, etc. who will be affected by all of this is key for us.

Karl Maersch

Village Council President