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Archive for Saturday, July 28, 2007

Parking price

The city has set a bad precedent by selling downtown parking spaces to a local developer.

July 28, 2007

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City Commissioner Boog Highberger was right to voice concerns about the city giving up eight public parking spaces to allow the expansion of a building owned by the Fritzel family at 123 W. Eighth St.

Over Highberger's objection, the commission voted 4-1 to give the spaces to the developer so an elevator and stairway could be added to the building.

Now, what are city commissioners going to say when other developers with compelling stories to tell seek approval to expand into a city parking lot? A precedent has been set; if it is OK for the Fritzels to secure space in a city lot, what sound reasons can be cited to deny other developers from receiving similar concessions?

The Fritzel plan calls for the company to pay the city $25,000 for each of the eight parking spaces, but this is a bargain if the elevator and stairs make their building a much more attractive and usable space for individuals or businesses to rent, lease or buy.

One of downtown Lawrence's most pressing needs is for more parking space for customers and employees. Is $25,000 the price tag the city has placed on city parking spaces? If so, can others - perhaps individual retail operations - purchase parking spaces near their businesses for $25,000 per slot?

Just as it is dangerous for the city to set a precedent of allowing private businesses to gain ownership and control over space in a city parking lot, commissioners also need to be extremely careful not to allow any further invasion into any of the city's parks. There are likely to be requests in coming years to allow buildings, communication towers or other structures and facilities to be placed in the city's parks. These open spaces are too precious and too important to allow them to be nibbled away by what some may think are badly needed and justified additions.

It is unfortunate that city commissioners did not pay more attention to Highberger's reasoning on why it was not good policy to give away precious city parking spaces to a private business.

Comments

KsTwister 7 years, 5 months ago

The $200,000 the city made with this deal is no more than chump change compared to the money it will spend with future legal battles that will ensue. Regardless of which persons palm get greased one thing Lawrence citizens needs to watch and that is the interaction between developers and its elected officials-city,county and state. If conflicts of interest exist between them then they need to excuse themselves---quickly. Right of way permits had better come with a hefty price tag for developers in the future.

Godot 7 years, 5 months ago

This is nothing compared to the acre of land adjacent to Sport2sport that the city "sold" to Elwell for around $30,000 last year. The county now values that vacant land at over $140,000.

Keith 7 years, 5 months ago

Next thing you know we'll be selling the seats in the commission meeting room.

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