A new parking fee for businesses moving into the city’s downtown shopping district would only affect mid- to large-sized stores and restaurants, said Mayor Ralph Suozzi at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“The parking structures are a great asset to us, but they require upkeep,” Suozzi said over the phone Wednesday.
He said the fee would be a one-time charge affecting only new businesses that would require additional parking spaces than their sites had previously.
Max Stach, city planner with the Turner Miller Group, LLC, addressed the council Tuesday as to the details of the Payment in Lieu of Parking (PILOP), saying that since the provision was formulated in August 2010, only three business applications brought to the planning board would trigger the fee.
Reached at his office Wednesday, Stach said the money collected through the fee would go into an account separate from the city’s general coffers, and that that money would only be used to maintain and improve the downtown’s parking facilities.
Zoning laws require that businesses provide a certain number of parking spaces based on the customer volume specific to each business. Rather than requiring new businesses to provide new parking spaces, Stach explained, the new provision will allow them to pay the fee to use the city’s spaces – a fee that would go directly toward the upkeep or improvement of the existing facilities, or the building of new ones.
“Small businesses will likely not pay anything under this structure,” Stach said.
The planning board is tasked with determining the number of spaces that trigger the fee, while the city council determines the fee’s amount. These figures would be subject to change over time, Suozzi said.
That fee structure would charge nothing for up to four additional spaces, $750 per space for between five and 17 new spaces, and $1,750 per space for more than 17 required spaces. This is compared to the current $13,000 cost of building a single stall, or $35,000 for each stall for a large building.
Stach used the example of the Village Piazza apartments planned for Village Square, which would require additional parking beyond the spaces that will be built as part of the development to accommodate all 142 apartments. The complex would be required to pay $206,000 to cover its use of city parking.
Stach said the provision was designed to avoid charging businesses outside the downtown district via tax levy increases for parking improvements which they would not benefit from, as well as to avoid any tax increase for residents.
The provision will be open for discussion at the city’s next two council meetings, Suozzi said. A representative of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District at Tuesday’s meeting expressed the group’s concern over the measure possibly discouraging business from coming to Glen Cove. Suozzi replied that the provision targets the types of businesses which could handle the cost.
“This is targeted to help businesses and maintain the downtown so they can flourish,” he said.