At City Councilmans request Don Moffitt, council members sent a proposed lease arrangement, including fees, for a Ninth Street parking lot back to the city transportation staff, putting off a decision until at least mid-February.
Moffitt gave no reason for making the request, which his colleagues accepted without comment. Early last week, though, Transportation Director Mark Ahrendsen said in an email to Moffitt that he would confer with other city executives about concerns raised by Regulator Bookshop co-owner Tom Campbell.
Campbell had emailed council members to say he and most everybody on Ninth Street feel bringing paid parking to Ninth Street will put at risk the continued viability of the Ninth Street shopping area.
The transportation staff had recommended that city lease the 46-space Ninth Street parking lot and charge a $1 per hour fee to use it, while setting two-hour limits on street parking in the area. The city had leased the lot and allowed free parking since 1985. That lease ended when CPGPI Regency Erwin LLC bought the property in 2012, but the company allowed free parking to continue while negotiating new terms with the city.
City transportations proposal does not include charging for on-street parking. It does, though, mention that a consultants report recommends instituting on-street parking charges in the Ninth Street area at the same time they are imposed downtown. That date has not been set.
A parking fee will erect a barrier between our businesses and our customers. And the draconian enforcement of the new parking regulations will compound this problem exponentially, Campbell wrote in an attached memo to council members titled A Bad Idea. But there is another way,
Campbell, who was out of town last week, said he wrote the council after conferring with fellow Ninth Street business owners Carol Anderson, of Vaguely Reminiscent, and Danielle Martini-Riosof the Blue Corn restaurant.
Paying the proposed base lease rate of $6,875 per month could be covered with just 7 percent of the tax revenues from new development around Ninth Street, wrote Campbell, a former City Councilman.
Is 7 percent of the new tax revenues that our businesses have made possible too much to ask, so that our businesses are not harmed perhaps irreparably by the growth we have engendered? he wrote.