Va­cant lots could be used for park­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twit­ter

A lack of avail­able park­ing in Kingston has of­ten been a topic of dis­cus­sion among city lead­ers, and now the Com­mon Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to al­low va­cant lots in res­i­den­tial ar­eas to be put to such use.

Dur­ing a meet­ing of the Com­mon Coun­cil’s Laws and Rules Com­mit­tee on Tues­day, mem­bers were asked to con­sider amend­ing the city’s zon­ing code to al­low park­ing to be the pri­mary use of va­cant prop­er­ties within res­i­den­tial districts. Cur­rently, the code pro­hibits such use even when the va­cant lot is con­tigu­ous to a de­vel­oped

par­cel owned by the same in­di­vid­ual.

Un­der the amend­ment, a re­quest to make park­ing the pri­mary use of a prop­erty would be re­ferred to the city Plan­ning Board for ap­proval and a spe­cial-use per­mit. The Plan­ning Board would be able to place re­stric­tions on the use or re­quire im­prove­ments to the prop­erty, such as land­scap­ing or light­ing.

“It’s go­ing to im­prove the value of the lot,” Deputy Fire Chief Tom Tiano, who heads the city’s Build­ing Safety Di­vi­sion, told the com­mit­tee. He said his of­fice would be no­ti­fied of any such per­mits be­ing is­sued, al­low­ing for mon­i­tor­ing of the prop­er­ties.

The com­mit­tee voted 3-2 to move the pro­posal

to the full coun­cil, which next meets in De­cem­ber. Mi­nor­ity Leader Deb­o­rah Brown, R-Ward 9, and Alder­woman Maryann Mills, D-Ward 7, voted “no,” with Mills say­ing she still had ques­tions about the change. Brown ques­tioned whether the amend­ment would ap­ply only to con­tigu­ous prop­er­ties, which she would pre­fer.

In pitch­ing the pro­posal, Tiano said the issue of us­ing va­cant prop­er­ties for park­ing has come up mul­ti­ple times and the Plan­ning Board of­ten is asked to con­sider waivers for project devel­op­ers. He said prop­erty own­ers who have con­tigu­ous va­cant parcels might not nec­es­sar­ily want to do a lot-line dele­tion to make one large piece of land be­cause it elim­i­nates the pos­si­bil­ity of sell­ing one of the parcels in the fu­ture.

Tiano also said some

parcels only are large enough for a build­ing to be con­structed with­out park­ing, such as for apart­ment com­plexes.

City res­i­dent Joseph DiFalco re­peat­edly said he felt the amend­ment was be­ing ad­vanced only to ben­e­fit the pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter on Abeel Street.

“This is not specif­i­cally tied to any one project,” As­sis­tant Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel Daniel Garten­stein said, adding that the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter devel­op­ers no longer were re­quest­ing to use a va­cant lot for park­ing.

Coun­cil Ma­jor­ity Leader Wil­liam Carey, D-Ward 5, said the change sim­ply would give the Plan­ning Board an­other tool and that the board would not be “hand­ing out coupons” for park­ing. Pro­pos­als still would need to fit within the city code, he said.

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