Mayor will take park­ing pro­posal to busi­nesses

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Free­man staff and Mid-Hud­son News Net­work

Mayor Steve Noble will dis­cuss his plan to dou­ble park­ing fees with the Kingston Busi­ness Al­liance Dec. 1.

KINGSTON >> Mayor Steve Noble is tak­ing his vi­sion to re­make the city’s park­ing strat­egy to law­mak­ers and busi­ness own­ers.

Say­ing the city needs to in­crease rev­enues to meet man­dated costs, Noble has pro­posed dou­bling on-street park­ing me­ter fees.

A Com­mon Coun­cil panel this week rec­om­mended ap­proval of a zon­ing change that would al­low the use of va­cant lots as park­ing ar­eas within res­i­den­tial dis­tricts.

Noble is set to dis­cuss his plan with city law­mak­ers on Nov. 21 and will present his park­ing plans to the Kingston Busi­ness Al­liance at Frank Guido’s Lit­tle Italy in Mid­town at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1.

Noble has said he wants the park­ing sys­tem to be more self-suf­fi­cient and to pay for it­self over the long haul. Noble’s 2017 city bud­get in­cludes about $175,000 in rev­enue from the park­ing lots.

“Our park­ing lots are in des­per­ate need of re­pair in many places in the city and we re­ally need to be able to have a funding source that can be paid by the users of those lots to be able to make sure they are go­ing to be there for years to come,” the mayor said. “And we also want to make park­ing more con­ve­nient for in­di­vid­u­als in the city, so we want to be able to pro­vide tech­nol­ogy, both on-street and in the lots that al­low peo­ple to pay for park­ing with their smart phones.”

The pro­posal to dou­ble park­ing fees is part of a park­ing strat­egy by the mayor that also in­cludes in­stalling me­ters or pay sta­tions in mu­nic­i­pal lots where park­ing cur­rently is free.

Noble has called for the cost of me­tered park­ing — which has not changed since the in­stal­la­tion of me­ters in 2007 — to rise from 50 cents an hour to $1. He said hourly park­ing me­ter fees of $1 in Pough­keep­sie, $1.25 in Syra­cuse and $1.50 in Ithaca.

Fines for park­ing me­ter vi­o­la­tions also would in­crease un­der the No­bel plan. The base fine would rise from $20 to $25; the fine after 15 days would rise from $40 to $50.

Noble, who said he ex­pects the in­creases to take ef­fect Jan. 1, has con­ceded the re­sponse to the plan “has been mixed.”

Noble wants to have park­ing pay­ment kiosks in some or all of the roughly half­dozen mu­nic­i­pal lots in Kingston, and five com­pa­nies that pro­vide them have sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als to City Hall.

Kingston in­tends to buy or lease about 15 of the pay sta­tions.

Noble has said the kiosk sys­tem would ben­e­fit users by mak­ing it pos­si­ble to pay ei­ther by cash or credit card at kiosks, with short-term and dis­counted long-term op­tions avail­able, and the city may im­ple­ment a sys­tem that would al­low pay­ment by smart­phone.

The Com­mon Coun­cil’s Laws and Rules Com­mit­tee on Tues­day rec­om­mended by 3-2 vote 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.

The pro­posed amend­ment comes as con­tro­versy sur­rounds the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter pro­posed for Abeel Street in the Down­town sec­tion of the city, where there are lim­ited op­tions for park­ing. The pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter site lacks the park­ing re­quired for the fa­cil­ity un­der the city zon­ing code.

As­sis­tant Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel Daniel Garten­stein has said the pro­posed amend­ment is not con­nected to the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter.

Noble

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