Parking fees up for a vote
Council to decide on plan to raise parking rates
City council will vote next week on proposed increases to the cost of parking in downtown Newark.
The ordinance would increase the cost of parking at meters in the core downtown area – Main Street west of Chapel Street – from $1.25 an hour (12 minutes per quarter) to $2 an hour (7.5 minutes per quarter.)
Meanwhile, lesser-used meters east of the Pomeroy Trail would be reduced to $1 an hour.
Council will also discuss a controversial plan to increase the cost of parking in cityrun lots during the busiest times.
Under the plan for “peak” and “off peak” rates, the cost to park would double to $2 per hour Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The current $1-per-hour rate would remain on weekends, nights and during the summer.
By raising the rates, the city aims to incentivize visitors to park in university parking garages or at parking meters on the outskirts of downtown, thus freeing up spaces for others.
The increase was supposed to take effect in October but was delayed after an outcry from business owners.
“It’s a tipping point for Newark. This sends red flags up to the outlying community and Newark residents alike – do not come to downtown Newark,” Donna O’Dell Hoke, owner of Unique Impressions, told council Oct. 23. “Newark is not an island. There are plenty of places to shop and dine.”
Unlike the cost of parking meters, the parking lot fees can be changed by the city manager without approval from council. However, some council members have expressed interest in changing that policy.
Also on Monday’s busy agenda is a plan to build student apartments on a 0.45-acre property at 36 Benny Street.
Developer Ben Prettyman plans to demolish the aging student-rental duplex currently on the site and replace it with seven townhouse-style apartments, each containing six bedrooms. In order for the project to proceed, council must approve a rezoning, major subdivision and amendment to the comprehensive development plan.
Council will also discuss the plan for a stormwater pond and park at the site of the Rodney dorm complex, choose a lobbyist and vote on a “welcoming city” resolution declaring that the city will not investigate or detain a person based solely on immigration status.