Mayor will take parking proposal to businesses
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.