Guest Opinion: The REAL Reason For More Downtown Parking

Lee Duboc – February 7, 2015

Fellow residents,

More of you responded to my January 7th email (Re-Imagine Santa Cruz Ave) than to any email previously sent, and 90% of you wanted to see CHANGE.

Well, unless we have more parking, there will be no change. Here’s why:

  • Physical changes to downtown stores require building permits —even for fairly minor changes.
  • Getting a building permit requires bringing much or all of the structures up to current safety codes—which is good–and needed.
  • However, to cover the significant costs involved, like providing access for those with disabilities; adding indoor sprinkler systems; providing new water hookups; and rewiring; etc, the properties must have an incentive to expand, mostly by adding a second or third story.
  • BUT according to zoning codes, they cannot add square footage without providing more parking; and here’s the catch, they have no room on their properties for that.
  • And of course, if we populate downtown with better stores, more restaurants and new tenants, and we create an upbeat milieu, parking will become critical.
  • Without more parking, expect Santa Cruz Ave to remain stuck as it is.

Happily our planning commission and Mayor Catherine Carlton support the idea of creating more parking in our downtown area.

(And) hopefully, we will have a constructive and realistic discussion about increasing the number of parking spaces in our town.

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