The downtown parking discussion looks to continue this year, with the Town Council last week initiating changes to its Zoning Ordinance.
By a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Marty Martinez opposed, the council agreed to consider new requirements for residential and non-residential parking ratios and alternative parking provisions in the downtown area.
In addition to tweaking ratios for the amount of parking required to be provided by developers for both residential and non-residential development in the B-1 and H-1 overlay districts, the council will consider alternatives to the payment in lieu of parking fee imposed on developers who can’t meeting parking requirements on site. That fee is recommended to remain in place, both by an outside consultant who provided recommendations on downtown parking solutions last year, as well as some larger developers downtown who said the program is necessary to get their projects off the ground. Developers of smaller parcels downtown have said the fee is unfair, as it does not actually generate any parking, so potential Zoning Ordinance changes include allowing developers to receive permits for payment in lieu fees, to allow residents and/or business owners or employees of their properties to park in designated spaces downtown.
The changes eyed in the Zoning Ordinance are far from a done deal. The initiating resolution now directs the changes to go before both the Planning Commission for a public hearing, and back to the council for a final vote and another public hearing.