Truckee business owners divided on downtown parking
June 30, 2011
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Business and property owners expressed strong division this week in response to a suggested long-term solution that they shoulder the costs of paid parking in downtown Truckee.
At a special workshop Wednesday, town Engineer Dan Wilkins and Truckee Downtown Merchants Association President Alyssa Westenberg met with residents to discuss recommendations by the townand#8217;s parking working group that would potentially make downtown parking free, so long as business or property owners shoulder its roughly $600,000 annual cost.
The recommendation also includes short-term solutions that would ease the current financial burden to the town by an estimated $125,000 and#8212; the amount taxpayers currently subsidize.
Creating either a business improvement district that taxes businesses or a parking assessment district or property-based improvement district that taxes property owners is the long-term answer the town supports, Wilkins said.
and#8220;and#8230; From the townand#8217;s perspective, our preference would be for the downtown business community to manage and operate the parking asset without the need for the town to be involved with that,and#8221; he said.
For that to happen, however, business and/or property owners would have to get on the same page, which wasnand#8217;t the case Wednesday.
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Some said they supported paid parking, others argued against it, some were in favor of an assessment district, while others disputed parking was a business or property ownerand#8217;s responsibility. Even others said if businesses were to be taxed, those with greater use of parking should be required to pay more.
While empathizing with concerns, Westenberg called for a movement toward continued public discussion and a business- and-town-backed solution.
and#8220;I donand#8217;t think that positive change can happen by not doing anything,and#8221; Westenberg said. and#8220;and#8230; Thatand#8217;s the purpose about talking about it and trying to work together.and#8221;
Parking committee member Julie Tenorio, owner of Gratitudes Gifts and Home Decor in downtown, said she hopes people understand the reality of the situation and#8212; potentially losing parking spots altogether.
and#8220;Having railroad parking fenced off would be a far worse result than creating a parking plan,and#8221; Tenorio said. and#8220;There is no free parking, never has been, never will be, so either we come up with some sort of property-based improvement district or something like that to pay for this parking.and#8221;
Parking Committee Chair Paul Leyton said reaching the recommendations was no small effort and required great compromise among its 22 members who held long discussions and heated debates during an eight-month period.
and#8220;and#8230; Everybody was a little bit frustrated and a little bit satisfied and#8212; thatand#8217;s what compromise is all about,and#8221; Leyton said. and#8220;To have this group be anything but a little bit frustrated and a little bit satisfied, it couldnand#8217;t have done it otherwise. You have to understand that. It was not an easy task for everybody.and#8221;