City commissioners agreed to move ahead on a proposal that would allow a Lawrence developer to use public parking spaces to accommodate expansion of a downtown office building.
Commissioners on a 4-1 vote gave staff the approval to enter into negotiations with developer Thomas Fritzel for eight public parking spaces in the lot southeast of Eighth and Vermont streets. The eight spaces would give Fritzel's group the ability to expand the building at 123 W. Eighth St. by adding an elevator and stairway.
Commissioner Boog Highberger opposed the plan, saying it could set a bad precedent. The city is requiring Fritzel to pay $25,000 per space upfront. Commissioners expressed an interest in using the money to redesign the Vermont Street parking lot in an effort to gain space to replace the eight lost spaces.
The lot currently has a large island in its southern portion that could be made smaller.
Commissioners also told staff to prepare a draft request for proposals to send to other developers to determine if there is additional interest in using downtown parking lots for redevelopment.